Books to Film: Summer Break Edition

Shaft by Ernest Tidyman

12466775Shaft (2019) film poster.pngMovie: Shaft
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: Shaft has no prejudices. He’ll kill anyone- black or white. Who is John Shaft? A black Bogart who says the Revolution is a new way to chase chicks…the Mafia is a meatball…and life is going to screw you if you don’t screw it. John Shaft is a private eye. John Shaft is a black man made of muscle and ice.

American Woman by Susan Choi

285086American WomanMovie: American Woman
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: When 25-year-old Jenny Shimada steps out of the Rhinecliff train station in New York’s Hudson Valley, the last person she expects to see is Rob Frazer, a shadowy figure from her previous life. On the lam for an act of violence against the American government, Jenny agrees to take on the job of caring for three younger fugitives whom Frazer has spirited out of California. One of them, the granddaughter of a wealthy newspaper magnate in San Francisco, has become a national celebrity. Kidnapped by a homegrown revolutionary group, Pauline shocked America when she embraced her captors’ ideology, denouncing family and class to enlist in their radical cell.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

1325218Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film logo.jpgMovie: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone—skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories—and even scary songs—all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.

The Kitchen by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle

25241732The Kitchen poster.jpeg

Movie: The Kitchen
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives—Kath, Raven and Angie—decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

3153910The Art of Racing in the Rain.jpgMovie: The Art of Racing in the Rain
When it comes out:
August 9
What the book is about:
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

13526165Where'd You Go Bernadette (film poster).pngMovie: Where’d You Go
When it comes out:
August 16
What the book is about:
Bernadette Fox has vanished. When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

 

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström

9292518click for larger (if applicable) Movie: The Informer
When it comes out:
August 16
What the book is about:
Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

 

The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell

4578102Official Secrets PosterMovie: Official Secrets
When it comes out:
August 23
What the book is about:
British secret service officer Katharine Gun’s only crime was telling the truth, but she paid a steep price when she exposed a U.S.-U.K. spy operation to secure UN authorization for the Iraq invasion. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this book tells the story of the young woman Sean Penn describes as “a hero of the human spirit.”

Best Sellers Update: June

New York Times Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

36809135For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

  1. A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin
  2. THE 18TH ABDUCTION by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  3. CARI MORA by Thomas Harris (NEW)
  4. PAST TENSE by Lee Child
  5. REDEMPTION by David Baldacci
  6. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate
  7. SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews
  8. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng
  9. THE MISTER by E L James
  10. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  11. THE GUEST BOOK by Sarah Blake
  12. A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles
  13. SECURING SIDNEY by Susan Stoker (NEW)
  14. FIRE AND BLOOD by George R.R. Martin

Lewis and Clark Hit the Road

Image result for lewis and clark expedition

From Wikimedia Commons: Detail of “Lewis & Clark at Three Forks”, mural in lobby of Montana House of Representatives

The Corps of Discovery Expedition (Clark wanted to call it the Magical Mystery Tour but was out-voted*) set off 115 years ago today. The expedition, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly expanded frontier (thanks to the Louisiana Purchase) and find a way through to the west coast, rode, walked and floated (rivers are incredibly handy when they aren’t flooded) it’s way across the continent from the Illinois side of the Mississippi and back. All told, it took two year, four months and ten days!

Can’t. Even. Imagine.

It is hard to comprehend such an undertaking, committing that much time and effort to a potentially dangerous enterprise with no certain conclusion. Boldly going, et cetera, et cetera. Just amazing. Recognizing that, the Corps of Discovery and explorers in general, here is a list of some our favorite books about explorers and their adventures, successful and otherwise.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

139069In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

 

 

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose

45546In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a pioneering voyage across the Great Plains and into the Rockies. It was completely uncharted territory; a wild, vast land ruled by the Indians.

 

 

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

18600Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death. The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men.

 

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

8837Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

 

 

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

48503The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott’s team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey, draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott’s legendary expedition.

 

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

825419“Arabian Sands” is Wilfred Thesiger’s record of his extraordinary journey through the parched “Empty Quarter” of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life-“the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets.” In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels.

 

Into Thin Air by  Jon Krakauer

1898A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

 

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

790171Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure — a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft.

 

Over the Edge of the World by  Laurence Bergreen

174354Ferdinand Magellan’s daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

 

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

1845In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

 

Did we miss one of your favorites? Feel free to comment below and add to the list.

*This is categorically false. We know you knew that already, but librarians have a really hard time giving incorrect information.

Beyond Regency and Victorian: 15 Unusual Historical Romances

As a lifelong period drama devotee, historical romance is probably my favorite subgenre in all of Romancelandia. But as a history nerd, I’ve never quite understood why the Regency and Victorian eras are so very, very dominant. Don’t get me wrong—I will never say no to a good bustle, and I love Austen-esque tales as much as the next romance reader. But why isn’t there an entire genre of fast-paced, witty Roaring ’20s romances? Or love affairs within the court intrigue of Tudor England? Or, you know, more romances set anywhere other than England or America? The following list is unfortunately still Anglocentric, much like the romance genre itself, but these authors offer a place to start for those looking to move beyond the Regency or Victorian romance.

Read more at bookpage.com.

Best Sellers Update: May

NYT COMBINED PRINT & E-BOOK FICTION BEST SELLERS

  1. NEON PREY by John Sandford (NEW)

40953793It was a relatively minor criminal matter, all things considered, but enough that the US Marshals obtained a warrant to enter the home. They didn’t expect to unearth trophies from a score of killings. Now Davenport is on the trail of a serial murderer, one who was able to operate for years without notice or suspicion. But there’s even more to this killer than meets the eye…

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
  2. REDEMPTION by David Baldacci
  3. THE MISTER by E L James
  4. THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES by Lynsay Sands (NEW)
  5. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  6. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn
  7. LOST ROSES by Martha Hall Kelly
  8. A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin
  9. WAR OF THE SPARK: RAVNICA by Greg Weisman (NEW)
  10. A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles
  11. SOMEONE KNOWS by Lisa Scottoline
  12. THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers
  13. THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides
  14. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

Books to Film: May Edition

Tell It to the Bees by Fiona Shaw

6767519Tell It to the Bees (film poster 2019).jpgMovie: Tell It to the Bees
When it comes out: May 3
What the book is about: Lydia Weekes is distraught at the break-up of her marriage. When her young son, Charlie, makes friends with the local doctor, Jean Markham, her life is turned upside down. Charlie tells his secrets to no one but the bees, but even he can’t keep his mother’s friendship to himself. The locals don’t like things done differently. As Lydia and the doctor become closer, the rumors start to fly and threaten to shatter Charlie’s world.

The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester

25019The Professor and the Madman (film).pngMovie: The Professor and the Madman
When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: An extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion by Ed Sanders & The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten by Karlene Faith

5073151100168Charlie Says (2018 film) poster.jpgMovie: Charlie Says
When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: The Family: The first full-length, chronological account of the Manson clan tracks the case through two decades of turmoil and include revealing information on the highly publicized murder trial of 1970 and 1971, Squeaky Fromme’s attempt to shoot President Gerald Ford, and Manson’s continued leadership of the Satanic underground from behind bars.

The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: At The Age Of Twenty-One, Leslie Van Houten was sentenced to death, along with Charles Manson and his other disciples, for the infamous murder rampage spanning two nights in August 1969. Leslie, who was present at the Rosemary and Leno LaBianca stabbings, serenely accepted her sentence, wishing only that she had better served Manson in carrying out his apocalyptic vision of Helter Skelter. When the United States temporarily suspended its death penalty, her sentence for murder conspiracy was converted to life in prison. Today, at the age of 51, after three trials and with no parole in sight, Leslie has become a remarkable survivor of a living nightmare.

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

13167796A Dogs Journey Movie Poster Art.jpg

Movie: A Dog’s Journey
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: The direct sequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Dog’s Purpose.

Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

28763485The Sun Is Also a Star film poster.pngMovie: The Sun Is Also a Star
When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. Definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica.

Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets about all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store.

Aniara by Harry Martinson

1138948Aniara movie posterMovie: Aniara
When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
Harry Martinson’s Epic Science Fiction Poem, is at once a warning of despair in the time of the nuclear weapons and the looming threat of ecological disaster and perhaps the most complete expression of Martinson’s lifelong project to illustrate man’s attempts to truly see himself and his role in creation.

Trial by Fire” (The New Yorker) by David Grann

Trial by Fire.jpgMovie: Trial by Fire
When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
When Elizabeth Gilbert approached the prison guard, on a spring day in 1999, and said Cameron Todd Willingham’s name, she was uncertain about what she was doing. A forty-seven-year-old French teacher and playwright from Houston, Gilbert was divorced with two children. She had never visited a prison before. Several weeks earlier, a friend, who worked at an organization that opposed the death penalty, had encouraged her to volunteer as a pen pal for an inmate on death row, and Gilbert had offered her name and address. Not long after, a short letter, written with unsteady penmanship, arrived from Willingham, convicted of setting the fire that killed his three young children. “If you wish to write back, I would be honored to correspond with you,” he said. He also asked if she might visit him. Perhaps out of a writer’s curiosity, or perhaps because she didn’t feel quite herself (she had just been upset by news that her ex-husband was dying of cancer), she agreed. Now she was standing in front of the decrepit penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas—a place that inmates referred to as “the death pit.” Gilbert came to believe that the polite unassuming man Willingham was innocent and would soon set out on a long, frustrating journey to find the truth.