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Friday, September 22, 2017

Follett Adds to Kingsbridge Series

Written by Jon Williams

Like so many authors, Ken Follett didn’t originally have his heart set on a career writing fiction. Born in Wales before moving as a child to London, he studied philosophy in college, he started out working in journalism. The tide began to turn a few years later when he moved into a publishing career and began writing fiction of his own. After a number of novels were released under pen names, Follett finally found success under his own name with Eye of the Needle in 1978. A World War II spy thriller, it won the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and it set Follett on the path of an internationally bestselling author.

He followed that novel up in 1979 with Triple, another spy novel, this time set in the Middle East of the late 1960s. Indeed, Follett would become known primarily as a purveyor of fast-paced spy novels full of action and intrigue. Novels in this vein include 1985’s Lie Down with Lions, 1991’s Night Over Water, and 2001’s Jackdaws. And although it’s actually a true story, 1983’s On Wings of Eagles fits into much the same mold, as it explores a daring rescue mission to liberate two men being held in an Iranian prison. It was adapted into a miniseries in 1986.

However, this type of action thriller is not all that Follett writes. Although many of his novels were based around various points of 20th century history, in 1989 he planted his feet more firmly in the realm of historical fiction with The Pillars of the Earth, which explores the building of a cathedral in a fictional English village in the Middle Ages. It became his bestselling work to that point. After a long layoff, Follett finally followed up The Pillars of the Earth in 2007: World Without End revisits Kingsbridge Cathedral more than 150 years later, during the time of the Black Death, through the eyes of the descendants of characters from the original novel. And now, at long last, there is a third installment in the series. A Column of Fire, which came out last week, brings the cathedral and its surroundings into the Elizabethan era.

With that novel just coming out, hold lists may be long, for the initial installments as well as the latest release. However, you can direct impatient patrons to check out another series of historical novels from Follett. This trilogy began with Fall of Giants in 2010, following a number of characters through such events as the Russian Revolution and World War I. Follett wrote the novels in this series much more quickly than the Kingsbridge novels; the second, Winter of the World, was released just two years later, in 2012 and deals primarily with World War II. The third, Edge of Eternity, came out in 2014, and carries the families through the Cold War, from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Whatever he’s writing—whether it’s spy thrillers, historical fiction, or even non-fiction—Ken Follett’s work is always popular with patrons. Make sure you have his latest hit novel on your shelves for them to enjoy, and SmartBrowse his name on our website to find all we have to offer.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hot This Week: September 18

Baywatch stands strong for a second week at #1, with the comedy Rough Night, the top newcomer, at #2. LCD Soundsystem's long-awaited album makes its debut atop the music chart. It's a big week for new fiction, led by John le Carre and including new additions to the Mitch Rapp and Walt Longmire series. In non-fiction, the companion audiobook for the Ken Burns PBS documentary The Vietnam War joins the list.

Movies
  1. Baywatch (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Rough Night (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. All Eyez on Me (Blu-ray)
  5. First Kill (Blu-ray)
  6. Snatched (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Megan Leavey (Blu-ray)
  8. Alien: Covenant (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. The Boss Baby (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Blu-ray | 4K)
CD
  1. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
  2. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  3. Khalid, American Teen
  4. Imagine Dragons, Evolve
  5. Logic, Everybody
  6. SZA, Ctrl
  7. Ed Sheeran, Divide
  8. Post Malone, Stoney
  9. Kesha, Rainbow
  10. DJ Khaled, Grateful
Fiction
  1. A Legacy of Spies, John le Carre
  2. Secrets in Death, J.D. Robb
  3. Enemy of the State, Kyle Mills
  4. Y Is for Yesterday, Sue Grafton
  5. Glass Houses, Louise Penny
  6. The Right Time, Danielle Steel
  7. The Western Star, Craig Johnson
  8. Camino Island, John Grisham
  9. Dark Legacy, Christine Feehan
  10. The Store, James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
Non-Fiction
  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  2. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  3. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, Al Franken
  4. Why Buddhism Is True, Robert Wright
  5. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahesi Coates
  6. Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
  7. The Vietnam War, Geoffrey C. Ward
  8. It Takes Two, Jonathan and Drew Scott
  9. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann
  10. The Book of Joy, The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hot This Week: September 11

The big-screen action/comedy reboot of Baywatch takes over this week's movie list. Half of the music chart is new, led by Queens of the Stone Age and Fifth Harmony in the top two spots. The new Armand Gamache mystery from Louise Penny heads up the fiction list, while the non-fiction list remains largely the same.

Movies
  1. Baywatch (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Snatched (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Alien: Covenant (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. The Boss Baby (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Going in Style (Blu-ray)
  8. The Fate of the Furious (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Kong: Skull Island (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Inconceivable (Blu-ray)
CD
  1. Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
  2. Fifth Harmony, Fifth Harmony
  3. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  4. Old Dominions, Happy Endings
  5. Khalid, American Teen
  6. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
  7. Logic, Everybody
  8. Imagine Dragons, Evolve
  9. Ed Sheeran, Divide
  10. SZA, Ctrl
Fiction
  1. Glass Houses, Louise Penny
  2. Y Is for Yesterday, Sue Grafton
  3. The Right Time, Danielle Steel
  4. The Store, James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  5. Camino Island, John Grisham
  6. My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent
  7. Seeing Red, Sandra Brown
  8. The Late Show, Michael Connelly
  9. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
  10. Star Wars: Phasma, Delilah S. Dawson
Non-Fiction
  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  2. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  3. Why Buddhism Is True, Robert Wright
  4. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, Al Franken
  5. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahesi Coates
  6. Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
  7. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann
  8. The Big Lie, Dinesh D'Souza
  9. The Book of Joy, The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
  10. Grit, Angela Duckworth

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hot This Week: September 5

We hope everyone had a wonderful long Labor Day weekend! The latest film in Ridley Scott's Alien franchise tops this week's movie list. New York rock outfit Brand New debuts their new album at #1 on the music chart. In fiction, Sue Grafton's 25th and penultimate alphabet mystery wins the week, while in non-fiction, a couple of old favorites resurface.

Movies
  1. Alien: Covenant (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Snatched (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. The Boss Baby (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. Going in Style (Blu-ray)
  7. The Fate of the Furious (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Everything, Everything (Blu-ray)
  9. How to Be a Latin Lover (Blu-ray)
  10. Kong: Skull Island (Blu-ray | 4K)
CD
  1. Brand New, Science Fiction
  2. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  3. Neck Deep, The Peace and the Panic
  4. Kesha, Rainbow
  5. Khalid, American Teen
  6. DJ Khaled, Grateful
  7. Ed Sheeran, Divide
  8. Imagine Dragons, Evolve
  9. SZA, Ctrl
  10. Post Malone, Stoney
Fiction
  1. Y Is for Yesterday, Sue Grafton
  2. The Store, James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  3. Seeing Red, Sandra Brown
  4. Camino Island, John Grisham
  5. The Late Show, Michael Connelly
  6. Any Dream Will Do, Debbie Macomber
  7. The Lying Game, Ruth Ware
  8. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
  9. Exposed, Lisa Scottoline
  10. A Stranger in the House, Shari Lapena
Non-Fiction
  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  2. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  3. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, Al Franken
  4. Why Buddhism Is True, Robert Wright
  5. Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
  6. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahesi Coates
  7. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann
  8. The Book of Joy, The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
  9. The Big Lie, Dinesh D'Souza
  10. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

Friday, September 1, 2017

In Memoriam: Tobe Hooper

Written by Jon Williams

Acclaimed horror director Tobe Hooper passed away last weekend at the age of 74. He was considered an incredibly influential filmmaker—a quick Internet search will return a number of articles praising his work—and looking over his body of work, it’s easy to see why.

Growing up in Texas with parents who owned a theater, Hooper came by his love of movies naturally. He took that love with him to film school at the University of Texas in Austin, and he jumped into his career with his first film in 1969, at the age of 26. Eggshells, a low-budget horror/sci-fi movie, barely made a ripple as it came into the world. The same could not be said for his next feature. In 1974, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre terrified audiences and revivified a flagging horror genre. Filmmakers including Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, William Friedkin, and Ridley Scott have cited this seminal film as an influence in their work. He followed it up with a sequel in 1986, and the original was remade in 2003, with Hooper serving as co-producer.

Then, in 1982, came Poltergeist. Written by Steven Spielberg, who was unable to direct while he worked on E.T., the film was instead directed by Hooper. It was a critical and commercial success, and is still considered a classic 35 years later. Despite some confusion over Hooper’s role in the film, he pressed on, following it up with a pair of horror/sci-fi mashups: Lifeforce in 1985, and Invaders from Mars (a remake of a 1953 movie) in 1986. In 1995 he directed The Mangler, based on a short story by Stephen King and starring horror icon Robert Englund. His final film was 2003’s Djinn, about an apartment that is haunted by demons.

However, the silver screen was only part of Tobe Hooper’s career; he also did quite a bit of work for the small screen. That began in 1979 with his first Stephen King collaboration: the miniseries adaptation of the vampire novel Salem’s Lot. Over the years he would contribute to a number of anthology shows like Amazing Stories, Body Bags, Tales from the Crypt, and Masters of Horror. He also directed individual for a number of other shows, such as The Equalizer, Dark Skies, and Taken.

Tobe Hooper loomed large in the world of horror filmmaking, and his absence will be sorely felt. With Halloween right around the corner, now is a perfect time to stock your shelves with his classic films and lesser-known gems. You can SmartBrowse his name on our website to find all the titles listed above and more.