An ampersand wreaks havoc in book world; summer reading check-in; book to television adaptations; a new novel from Steve Yarbrough and Michael rediscovers The Virgin Suicides.
The Woes of the Ampersand
Michael is currently reading & Sons by David Gilbert. The ampersand in the title is deliberate, and is causing some frustration when readers are searching for the title. The ampersand was deliberately chosen, and since the book is getting such amazing reviews, it is a book that readers are definitely seeking out.
Read more about this interesting wrinkle:
Michael will talk more about the book in a future episode (once he finishes). (Goodreads has it listed as “And Sons.”)
The ampersand is adding stress to our summer reading plans as well. Our mid-summer check-in reveals that both Michael and I are a little behind on what we committed to reading in episode #236. I have started Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, and Michael has started Great Expectations, but neither of us has started Crossing to Safety, and I have not touched Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. I am going to do my best to complete my mission this summer, but time is ticking….
How are your summer reading plans coming along?
Adaptations That Work (12:51)
I confess that some of my reading time has been stolen by the new Netflix series Orange is the New Black, which is based on the book by Piper Kerman. They released all of the season’s episodes at once, and so I binge-watched all thirteen episodes over just a few days. The book and the series are quite different, but they are great companions. The book is the true story of Piper Kerman’s year in prison, while the series is fictionalized and highly dramatized. One of my favorite features of the show were the characters, which were fleshed out more than the book could ever do. So this made me wonder if a television series, especially from an independent producer to air on a cable or similar channel, is a better way to adapt a book (as opposed to a feature film). Michael and I talk this through, looking at series like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Dexter, and the upcoming Starz production of Outlander, which starts filming this fall.
Two Books We Can’t Wait for You to Read (24:00)
The Realm of Last Chances by Steve Yarbrough (on sale August 6th) is my pick for this week’s recommendation. Steve was an author at Booktopia Vermont 2014 and his book was a hit with all of the Booktopians who had a chance to read the early copies that we distributed. If you like the writing of Richard Russo, Richard Yates, or Russell Baker, you should check out Yarbrough’s work. This is a literary novel that has everything — great characters, a strong plot, and beautiful writing. Read anything by Steve Yarbrough — his novels and short story collections are all excellent.
Michael goes back into the vault to talk about The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s the story of the five Lisbon sisters who, over the course of a year, all commit or attempt suicide. If you’ve read Eugenides’ other books but not The Virgin Suicides, you should definitely go back. Michael also recommends the film.
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