Literary Potpourri ~ August 29 and 30


“Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan
“Paper Towns” by John Green
“The Jezebel Remedy” by Martin Clark
“Wicked Charms” by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
“Crooked” by Austin Grossman
“Oregon Trail” by Rinker Buck
“Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party” by Alexander McCall Smith

Patrick Nolan, Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief, Penguin Books

A preview of the summer’s hottest books in wide range of genres: fiction, nonfiction, travel and occult. Elaine speaks with Patrick Nolan of Penguin Books about the publishing house’s distinguished 80 year anniversary.

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Veronica Roth To Write A New Series

The “Divergent” author is set to write a new two-book series. The books currently are untitled, with the first one expected in 2017 and the next in 2018.

Roth and her publisher offered few specifics, beyond saying the series is in “the vein of ‘Star Wars'” and will tell of a boy’s “unlikely alliance” with an enemy. “Both desperate to escape their oppressive lives, they help each other attain what they most desire: for one, redemption, and the other, revenge,” the publisher announced.

In a recent email to the AP, Roth wrote that “The idea started with a character. All the other elements — setting, world, even a substantial portion of the plot — came after.” She added that while she had a “pretty detailed” outline for the new series, she was still in the early stages of writing. “That’s why I’m being so vague,” she explained.

“Divergent,” a Dystopian trilogy Roth completed in 2013, has sold more than 30 million copies and along with Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” and John Green’s books helped perpetuate the strong growth of young adult novels. The first “Divergent” movie, starring Shailene Woodley as teen heroine Tris Prior, came out a year ago and quickly earned more than $100 million at the box office. Three more movies are planned, starting with the March 20 release of “Insurgent.”

A Chicago resident, the 26-year-old Roth was still in college when she began “Divergent,” writing it while on winter break from Northwestern University. She is now one of the world’s most popular authors.

“I think I’d have to be a robot not to occasionally worry about expectations!” “But mostly I try to trust my instincts. It helps that I’m really in love with this project — that makes it a joy to work on.

“I’ve been really taking my time with it,” she said of the new series. “I’ve written huge sections a certain way only to cut them and start again. I’ve stepped away for a while, to work on other things, and then come back when I have better perspective. I’ve been more patient with myself and with the story. I’ve expanded my collection of comfortable pants and snack foods. It’s all working quite well so far.”

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Get A Jump On The Year’s Movies By Reading These Novels Headed To The Screen


Screen adaptations are awesome, but reading the book first puts you a step ahead. Not only do you know what will happen, you’ll also see what the screenwriters cut from the original story. Here are some titles be headed to the big screen in the next months:

“The Mortdecai Trilogy” by Kyril Bonfiglioli — The comedic crime novels have been turned into a film, “Mortdecai,” set for release Jan. 23. Johnny Depp stars as Charlie Mortdecai, an art dealer searching for a stolen painting. The quirky story also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — The zombie parody of the Jane Austen classic is set to hit the big screen in 2015, with “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet.

The “Last Apprentice” series by Joseph Delaney — The fantasy series follows Thomas Ward, a farmhand who discovers he has the power to protect his county from a witch. The film, called “Seventh Son,” stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, will be released Feb. 6.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James — The blockbuster erotic romance novel will hit theaters on Valentine’s Day, but don’t expect the movie to be as explicit as the book. Some things had to be toned down to assure an R rating. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star.

“Paper Towns” by John Green — This young adult novel got the green light to be filmed almost immediately after the success of “The Fault in Our Stars.” Nat Wolff, one of that 2014 film’s young stars, here has the lead role of Quentin, a teenager trying to decipher the mystery behind the girl he is in love with, Margo (Cara Delevingne). The movie has a June release.

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins — Fans will have to wait until November to see what happens in the second half of the series. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has to deal with a brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and realizes her business in the Capitol isn’t over yet.

“Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin — The film of Toibin’s novel follows a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) who emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s. She falls in love there, but a tragedy forces her to return home.

“Insurgent” by Veronica Roth — This sequel to “Divergent” follows Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) as they try to discover the history of Tris’ family. If they want answers, they’ll have to fight the Erudites.

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The World’s Top Earning Authors


Watch out Danielle Steel and Stephen King – the kids are coming. The world’s top-earning authors list includes three young newcomers who made more than $9 million each in the last year.

In a ranking long-dominated by stalwarts like crime writer James Patterson (who earned an estimated $90 million between June 2013 and June 2014), several of these “youngsters” have joined the ranks of big earners due to the increased commercial appeal of teen literature. Young adult author Veronica Roth‘s ranks 6th on account of her “Divergent” trilogy which sold a combined 6.7 million copies in 2013, earning her around $17 million between June 2013 and June 2014. At just 26, Roth is the youngest newcomer on the ranking, and one of seven women on the 17-person list. 37-year-old newcomer John Green’s ”The Fault in Our Stars” propelled him to an estimated $9 million yearly paycheck. The YA love story, which follows the trials of two cancer-stricken teens, has sold well over 1 million copies in the U.S. and spawned a weepy summer blockbuster. Green is tied for 12th place with Gillian Flynn, who joins the rankings for the first time due to the continued success of 2012′s “Gone Girl.” This New York Times bestseller sold 1.2 million copies in 2013.

Interestingly, a 2012 Bowker Market Research study suggested 55% of YA books are bought by people 18 and older. Adults aged between 30 and 44 accounted for 28% of all YA sales, and the books are purchased for their own reading the vast majority of the time.

With $14 million in earnings, the original young adult tour de force, J.K. Rowling, ranks 8th on the list. She continues to earn from back sales of her iconic Harry Potter series, while Pottermore – a proprietary website she setup to sell Harry Potter ebooks – earns millions. Unlike most authors, Rowling never signed over the digital rights to her books, so she sells directly to readers, earning far more from these digital sales than most authors do through ebooks.

Dan Brown, who first joined the Celebrity 100 ranking in 2004 thanks to the meteoric success of the Da Vinci Code, made an estimated $28 million from his Robert Langdon thriller series. In 2013, his fourth installment, “Inferno,” sold more than 1.4 million copies in the U.S.

Mainstays Nora Roberts ($23 million), Danielle Steel ($22 million) and Janet Evanovich ($20 million) round out the first five. Notably absent from the top: Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, who ranked third in 2013. This year, she earned a relatively paltry $16 million – a 71% decrease from the $55 million she pulled in between 2012 and 2013 – due to an 88% drop in book sales of her dystopian trilogy.

Collins still fared better than “Fifty Shades Of Grey” author E.L. James. The top earning author on last year’s ranking with a $95 million paycheck, James (No. 11) made just $10 million in this scoring period. Her erotic trilogy sold a meager 1.8 million copies in 2013, compared to more than 29 million in 2012.

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John Green’s Books To Racy To Read?


First it was Florida, then Wisconsin. John Green’s books – (though not “The Fault in Our Stars”) — have been coming under fire from parents.
In Pasco County, Fla., Green’s young adult novel “Paper Towns” was removed from an eighth-grade summer reading list after a parent complained about its content. Joanne Corcoran’s 13-year-old daughter “came to her mother asking her the definition of ‘masturbation,'” the Tampa Bay Times reports. “Corcoran further spotted F-bombs and references to teen sex.”
“Paper Towns” was rapidly removed from the reading list, a move that attracted the attention of censorship opponents, including the National Coalition Against Censorship. The book has been restored to the list.
Meanwhile, in Waukesha, Wis., parents tried to remove another of Green’s novels, “Looking for Alaska,” from school shelves, complaining the sexual content of “Looking for Alaska” was too mature for middle and high school students. As a local TV news station reported, they think the book was “too racy to read.”
Local school officials disagreed: they decided that “Looking for Alaska” will remain in the schools. Earlier this year, parents in Strasburg, Colo., challenged both books. Letters of support sent by more than 1,000 of Green’s readers and fans may have helped sway the school board, which voted 3-2 to allow “Looking for Alaska” and “Paper Towns” to remain.


In an annual rite of National Library Week, the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom released this year’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books. Leading the list is a children’s book series: “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey. In 2013, there were 307 reports of attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves, down sharply from 2012 totals, which logged 464 attempts.

Compiled annually by the ALA, the list collects “reports on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports.” A challenge is defined as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.” This year top 10 list includes:

1) Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

2) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

3) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

4) Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

6) A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone

7) Looking for Alaska, by John Green

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

9) Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

10) Bone (series), by Jeff Smith


2014 will be an exciting year for books and movies! Here’s a list of films heading to your neighborhood multiplex during the first half of the year.

Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Early reviews predict raves all around. Winter’s Tale by Mark Halperin looks like a 3-alarm kleenex flick laced with fantasy and romance. Colin Farrell and Russell Crow star. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby chronicles the 4 people who come together on New Year’s eve on the roof of a London Destination known as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. Lastly, “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green was an emotional read, but the movie will be honest and at-times, hilarious. Look for it in June.

Read ‘em before you plunk down twelve bucks for your ticket. Get all the info on my website, And tune into my show The Book Report.

Show Sept 28th ~ books with teens at their core


“Save Yourself” by Kelly Braffet
“Double Feature” by Owen King
“The Wicked Girls” by Alex Marwood
Days of Blood and Starlight” by Laini Taylor
“Dodger” by Terry Pratchett
Kelly Braffet is the author of “Save Yourself,” a book Dennis Lahane called “an electrifying tomahawk missile of a thriller.”
Tune Into the Program For:
A look at books with teens at their core, great reading for anyone who has a teen in their lives, or who remembers those incredibly challenging years. And, Elaine offers up a tribute to Banned Books Week.