Binge-worthy Literary Web Series

If you’ve been keeping up with YouTube in the past eight years, you might have noticed a growing trend in book adaptations. More and more, classic literature is being adapted are modernized as web series, typically available through video sites like YouTube.

The series tend to be shot vlog style, meaning they are presented as a video blog. Though the series still have actors, by mimicking the vlog formula, these adaptations tend to feel much more personal. The vlog setting, albeit fictional in this case, also functions on the idea that the characters are aware of their audience, and that other characters in the story are able to watch their videos.

Here are just a few literary web series that put fun new spins on classic tales!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Emmy award-winning literary web series that kicked off the trend, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is still considered by many to be the best literature-inspired web series. It’s not hard to see why, with the lovable Bennet sisters stealing the show in this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic romance Pride and Prejudice.

Emma Approved

Emma Approved is made by the same people who made The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so it has a similar feel to the other series. Of course, this could also be in part because it’s source material, Emma, is also written by Jane Austen. This series aired after the completion of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and so its influence can be seen all over the show. However, this series still manages to feel fresh and new, and took home a few Emmy awards of its own as well.

Nothing Much To Do

Nothing Much To Do is the first web series from New Zealand based production company The Candle Wasters, and was so popular it was even given a sequel series. Based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Nothing Much To Do brings the classic characters into a modern day New Zealand high school, where the leads get into just as many wacky hi-jinks as they do in the original play. The sequel series, Lovely Little Losers, is based on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, and follows the Nothing Much To Do characters as they go away to university.

Green Gables Fables

Green Gables Fables is a modern web series adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. The first season of the series focuses on Anne Shirley as she moves to Avonlea, where she is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and makes friends in her new home. The second season follows Anne and her friends as they head off to college, and covers the later books in the series. The series is known for its multimedia presence during its airing, with almost all of the characters having their own Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter accounts.

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy brings the tale of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan into the modern world, without sacrificing any of the magic and whimsy from the original. Follow Peter, Wendy, and many of your other favorite Peter Pan characters as they tackle friendship, romance, and what it means to finally grow up. The show was funded by the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, and successfully funded a second and third season as well!

Call Me Katie

Fans of the movie 10 Things I Hate About You might notice some similarities in this web series, which is because they are both based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The web series follows two sisters, Katie and Bianca, whose father has set a strict rule on Bianca for dating: she can date once Katie dates. Headstrong Katie has no plans to enter a romantic relationship any time soon, which spurs one of Bianca’s suitors to pay bad boy Peter to romance Katie so that Bianca will be allowed to date. Just like 10 Things, the modern adaptation here allows for a much more progressive and comedic version of Shakespeare’s original play.

Classic Alice

Classic Alice is a little different than the rest of the web series on this list, and that is because it is not based on one single work of literature. In the series, the main character, Alice, lives her life as according to certain pieces of classic literature. The series starts with Alice living her life based on Crime and Punishment, and over the course of the show she moves on to many other novels and stories. This format has allowed the show to run for quite some time, as the writers have much more source material to work with.

Carmilla

Written in 1872, 26 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla tells the story of a female vampire named Carmilla, who attempts to steal the life and vital fluids of the innocent Laura. In the web series, Carmilla and Laura share a dorm in college, and Laura begins to suspect that her roommate isn’t all that she seems. As opposed to the undeniably evil Carmilla in the original novella, the web series instead frames her as misunderstood, and eventually has Carmilla and Laura falling in love. This popular web series has spawned multiple seasons, and even a feature film adaptation. Season two and on are completely off-book, but the series is definitely still worth checking out!

In Earnest

An adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, this web series brings the classic play into the twenty-first century, where the main characters each upload videos to their individual YouTube channels. The series takes place in Pennsylvania, and was filmed at Grove City College and stars many Pennsylvania actors and actresses.

 

 

 

Morbid Curiosity Reads

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a morgue? Want to know what uses science has for human cadavers? You might have a case of what’s been dubbed “morbid curiosity,” or a fascination with the macabre. Inspired by this month’s Get Lit! Book Club pick, here are a few morbidly curious nonfiction titles that approach death from a unique, fresh perspective.

 

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The book that inspired this list, Stiff details the torrid relationship between science and human cadavers, from its origins in grave-robbing to today’s university owned “body farms.” This book is not Mary Roach’s first foray into the more macabre aspects of science, and her expertise in making the subjects approachable and fun is quite clear. Fans of this book will be glad to hear that she has several other in the same vein, including books on the science behind war, the void of space, digestion, and the afterlife.

 

Cover ImageSmoke Gets in Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty is not your average twenty-something. Instead of going a more traditional route after college, Doughty decided to indulge her morbid curiosity and start working at a crematory. Now a licensed mortician with her own practice, Doughty  intersperses hilarious anecdotes from her years working with the deceased with the answers to questions many of us are too afraid to ask, and compels readers to change the way they think about dying.

 

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and ObsessionCover Image by David Grann
This collection of twelve tales by David Grann, who originally published each of the true stories in the New Yorker, delves into what it means to be obsessed. The title is pulled from a particular story in which a man’s erratic obsession with Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle eventually leads to his untimely demise. For fans of The Lost City of Z, this book features Grann’s signature writing style mixed with tales that will appeal to readers’ interest in the macabre.

 

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical ExaminerCover Image by Judy Melinek
Judy Melinek has worked as a forensic pathologist in New York City for over fifteen years. She has performed autopsies and death investigations through every New York catastrophe, from September 11 to the anthrax attacks to the crash of American Airlines flight 587. In this book, Melinek details the funny, morbid, and challenging aspects of being a medical examiner, and reveals what is fact and fiction about the morgue stereotypes portrayed by decades of police procedural television dramas.

 

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian MedicineCover Image by Lindsey Fitzharris
Medical practices in the Victorian age were shockingly brutal, including a lack of anesthesia, rampant infection, and entire theaters dedicated to the live viewing of surgeries. In this brutal climate, Joseph Lister began to hypothesize about sterilization and germs, eventually making discoveries that revolutionized the medical profession. In incredible detail, this book uncovers both the grisly past of Victorian medicine and the incredible changes Joseph Lister was able to bring to the profession.

 

Cover ImageMortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt by Todd Harra and Ken McKenzie
As opposed to the stories of just one mortician, this book features a compilation of greatest hit anecdotes from undertakers across the United States. From hilarious experiences with corpses to dramatic encounters with families and funerals, these morticians have stories that will make you laugh, cry, and grimace. This book is a must read for fans of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Stiff.

 

Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab The Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell TalesCover Image by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson
Have you ever wondered how forensic pathologists know how the human corpse reacts to so many different scenarios? The answer is simple: body farms. Body farms are places, often run by universities, where cadavers donated to science are put through a variety of stressors to see the different ways decomposition can set in. This book reveals the secrets behind one of the first body farms, and all that goes into running such a bizarre science experiment.

 

Cover ImageThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This bestselling book reveals the never-before-told story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, gathered in 1951, helped science discover the polio vaccine, explore cloning, and even further the field of gene mapping. The twist? Henrietta never knew her cells were taken, and was never compensated or credited for her incredible impact on the world of medicine and genetics. Now an HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is crucial to understanding the history of genetics.

 

Cover ImageThe Invention of Murder: How Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders
With stories like Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, it may seem that murder was rampant in Victorian England. In reality, murder was rare; it was the publicity and sensationalization of murder that swept through British society. This interesting book explains how the Victorian obsession with murder created the first of detective fiction, and some of the most famous Gothic stories literature has to offer.

 

Cover ImageAdvice for Future Corpses and Those Who Love Them: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying by Sallie Tisdale
Written by a nurse, this book examines the idea of death, both in witnessing it and experiencing it. As stated by the title, we are all future corpses, and Sallie Tisdale hopes to make that transition as easy for us as possible. With an even mix of humorous and emotional anecdotes, Tisdale investigates what death truly means for us, and how we should approach it.

 

Related imageBonus: A Museum for the Morbidly Curious at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum
If you feel in the mood for a bit of a road trip, the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is world-renowned for its collection of medical oddities. From surgically removed tumors to a wall of real human skulls, this museum, owned by the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, has just about every medical oddity on display.

 

Related imageThe Origin of Morbid Curiosity
Many scholars trace the idea of morbid curiosity back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote in Poetics in 322 B.C.E. that the immensely tragic Greek plays allowed people to “enjoy contemplating the most precise images of things whose sight is painful to us.”

Westworld Readalikes

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As season two of Westworld draws to a close, viewers will be happy to hear that the show has been renewed for a third season. Until that third season comes out, here are a few great reads to fill the theme park-sized hole in your life!

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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Fans of Jurassic Park won’t be surprised to learn that Michael Crichton also wrote and directed the original 1973 Westworld. Though many have seen the movies, Jurassic Park is a great novel that also covers the concept of a futuristic theme park gone wrong. Just like the hosts in Westworld, it doesn’t take long for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to misbehave. Even if you love the films, give the book a try!

 

Image result for utopia lincoln childUtopia by Lincoln Child
From acclaimed author Lincoln Child, Utopia tells the story of a futuristic theme park that utilizes robots in its attractions, several of which feature reproductions of past eras. The robots’ programmer is called in to fix the malfunctioning robots, only to discover that the park is being held hostage by a mysterious guest. This novel is a great read for Westworld fans, and the familiar plot elements allow for just as exciting of a story.

Image result for love in the age of mechanical reproduction coverLove in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Judd Trichter
Judd Trichter’s book takes readers to futuristic Los Angeles, where the main character Eliot falls in love with an android woman who gets sold for parts to the black market. Unable to let go of his love, Eliot travels all over the city to find her parts and put her back together. The novel covers many of the same issues as Westworld, such as the concept of love between human and machine, and the morality of artificial life.

Image result for do androids dream of electric sheep coverDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The novel that inspired the film Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick’s classic novel tells the story of Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford in the movie), a bounty hunter tasked with hunting down and eliminating a group of rogue androids that have escaped from Mars. Just like Westworld, the novel brings into question what it means to be human as Deckard begins to wonder what makes the androids so different from human beings.

Image result for lonesome dove bookLonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
For fans of Westworld’s cowboys and Wild West narratives, Lonesome Dove tells the tale of a group of retired Texas Rangers as they drive a herd of cattle across the country, coming to terms with their old age and the loss of love in their lives. Though it lacks the futuristic elements of Westworld, the story lines of the show’s fictional park mirror this tale in tone and themes. The deep emotional core of the friendship between the main characters makes this novel much more than your typical Western story.

Image result for civilwarland in bad declineCivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders
This collection of six short stories and a novella follow various different people in a dystopian world. Each story takes place in the fictional futuristic theme park of CivilWarLand, which recreates the American Civil War, and the many things that go wrong there. The historic theme park connection to Westworld is clear, but the book’s focus on multiple plots through its short stories and novella may appeal to fans who enjoy the many different story lines the television series follows.

 

<p>Asimov&#8217;s groundbreaking series originated as a series of stories published in the 1940s and &#8217;50s. This book interlinks them, exporing the development of the robot and offering an unnervingly cogent vision of the near future. Buy it <a href="https://www.amazon.com/I-Robot-Isaac-Asimov/dp/055338256X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1524261156&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=i+robot">here</a>.</p> I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Science fiction legend Isaac Asimov’s famous collection of short stories paints a future in which robots and artificial intelligence are a part of everyday life, and their positronic brains (a term Asimov developed for the artificial conscience in robots) create a host of complicated issues for humanity. Fans of the 2004 Will Smith movie will be surprised to learn that there is little in common in the book with the film. Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics, outlined in this book, still effect science fiction to this day, and can be identified all over Westworld.

 

Image result for brave new world coverBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Originally published in 1931, Brave New World set the groundwork for stories on artificial intelligence, futuristic technology, and robotics. There likely isn’t a single book on this list that has not been affected by Brave New World, and its influences can be found all over the Westworld television series. The book imagines a Utopian society achieved through technology and genetics, where the perfection of life is not all that it seems. This novel is a must read, especially for fans of Dystopias like Westworld and Blade Runner.

 

 

Upcoming Movie Adaptations of Books

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Starring Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat), this adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s national bestseller comes out on August 15, 2018. The movie follows Rachel Chu, an American woman who finds out her boyfriend secretly comes from an extremely wealthy and powerful family in Singapore. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
This supernatural horror novel is coming to the big screen on August 31, 2018. From the director of 2015’s Academy Award-winning film Room and starring Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars) and Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre), the film will tell the tale of a British doctor’s terrifying experience at a family’s countryside estate. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), and David Tennant (Doctor Who) are just a few of the talented actors in this film’s star studded cast. Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart opposite Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. Written by the creator of Netflix’s House of Cards, the film is scheduled to be released on December 7, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Coming to theaters September 28, 2018, this film tells the harrowing true story of Garrard Conley, who was outed as gay at age 19 and sent to a gay conversion therapy program by his parents. The movie stars Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), and Russell Crowe (Gladiator). You can watch the trailer here!

 

First man: the life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
Ryan Gosling (La La Land) stars as Neil Armstrong in this biographical film about the first astronaut to walk on the moon. Directed by Damien Chazelle of La La Land and Whiplash, the movie is set to be released on October 12, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Cate Blanchett (Carol) stars as the titular Bernadette, who disappears and is pursued by her teenage daughter. The movie also features actors Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and directed by Richard Linklater, director of the 2014 Best Picture Academy Award-winning movie Boyhood. The release date is set for October 19, 2018.

 

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
In this sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Claire Foy (The Crown) takes over the role of Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker who teams up with a journalist to investigate corrupt government. The movie comes out on November 9, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Black Hand by Stephan Talty
This movie follows a New York City detective as he goes up against the Italian mafia. The film is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), who also stars in the movie. No release date has been announced yet, but the movie is expected to hit theaters in 2019.

 

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Produced by Peter Jackson, director of the award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortal Engines tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic future in which humans are forced to live in moving cities, and suffer under a corrupt government. The movie is set to be released on December 14, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Ophelia by Lisa Klein
In this reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) stars as Hamlet’s forbidden love, and stars Naomi Watts (The Glass Castle) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter). The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018, but is set to be released in theaters later this year.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
From the producer of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this movie tells the story of a British author, played by Lily James (Cinderella), who travels to the island of Guernsey at the end of World War II, where she meets a book club that began as an alibi during the island’s German occupation. Netflix has purchased the streaming rights to the film, which will be released through their service on August 10. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s famous novel is once again coming to the big screen, this time directed by Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette). The movie tells the tale of Esther, played by Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), and her struggle with her mental health. No official release date has been announced, but the film is expected to hit theaters in 2018.

 

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
From the mind behind Mozart in the Jungle, Bel Canto tells the story of an opera star, played by Julianne Moore (Still Alice), and several other members of an embassy party as they are taken hostage by terrorists. The film also stars Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), and is set for a September 2018 release.

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been developed into a star-studded adaptation, with names such as Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story). The movie tells the tale of a young man living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father, where he gets involved in the dangerous world of art forgery. The film is set to be released on October 11, 2019.

 

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Coming to Netflix on June 22 is the movie adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s bestselling memoir, which tells the story of Cahalan’s struggle with a rare autoimmune disorder, which had been discovered only three years before she was diagnosed. The movie stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie), Tyler Perry (Acrimony), and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix)

 

 

Honorable Mention: “Mary Shelley”

Currently in theaters, this movie tells the tale of literary legend Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein when she was just eighteen. Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon) stars in the titular role as the movie follows Shelley through her stay in Geneva, in which she wrote Frankenstein as a part of a competition to write the best horror story between herself, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron. Though it is not based on a book, the film tells the story of how one of fiction’s most famous monsters came to be. You can watch the trailer here!

New Fiction – March 2018

Anatomy of a ScandalAnatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Desperate to clear the name of her loving and charismatic husband in the wake of scandalous accusations, Sophie clashes with a determined prosecution lawyer, Kate, who is determined to uncover the truth and bring Sophie’s husband to justice.

 

 

Everything Here is BeautifulEverything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

The bond between a responsible, self-contained older sister and her mentally ill, impulsive younger sister is shaped and tested over years marked by the loss of their mother, an impetuous first marriage, a fling that results in the birth of a baby and painful sacrifices.

 

The Gone WorldThe Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch

Time-travel secret agent Shannon Moss visits future time periods for clues about a Navy SEAL astronaut’s murdered family and the disappearance of his teenage daughter, a case that is complicated by the SEAL’s and Shannon’s own impact on the timeline.  A Pittsburgh author.

 

 

The Great AloneThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season. By the author of The Nightingale.

 

Song of a Captive BirdSong of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

A first novel by the best-selling author of The Good Daughter re-imagines the life of rebel poet Forugh Farrokzhad, who is depicted as a passionate young writer in search of freedom and independence from the restrictions imposed on women in mid-20th century Iran.

New Nonfiction for February

Check out this selection of our new nonfiction. Pick up something different to read this cold and wet winter!

 

American WolfAmerican Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

The story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.  Great reviews!

Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.  With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth.

 

BunkBunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young

“Has the hoax now moved from the sideshow to take the center stage of American culture?”

 

 

In pursuit of memoryIn Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli

Alzheimer’s is a global epidemic of our time, affecting millions worldwide with more than five million people diagnosed in the United States alone.  Scientists are working against the clock to find a cure.

 

 

Ramp HollowRamp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll

A provocative account of Appalachia, and why it matters.  Beginning with the earliest European settlers, whose desire to hunt in vast forests was frustrated by absentee owners who laid claim to the region.  Within a few decades, Appalachian hunters and famers went from pioneers to pariahs.

 

WhenWhen: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?

In When , Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

Coming to the Big Screen 2018

AnnihilationAnnihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation , the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

(February 23)

 

A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L”Engle”s ground-breaking science fiction and fantasy classic, soon to be a major motion picture.

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

(March 9)

 

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

The bestselling cult classic–soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut–part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner , and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

(March 30)

 

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

(May 11)

 

Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

(August 17)

Comfort Food

Carla's Comfort FoodsCarla’s Comfort Foods : Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall

Featuring 130 recipes with new variations on soulful favorites, this cookbook covers the culinary globe on an ingenious, delicious mission: to capture the international flavors of comfort.

Soul Food LoveSoul Food Love : Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

Martha Stewart's Dinner at HomeMartha Stewart’s Dinner at Home : 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family & Friends

Two hundred recipes perfect for dinner when you have a little time–but not all day–to cook. For meals that are meant for sharing with friends and family but created with busy cooks in mind, Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home is a new classic that cooks of all levels will depend on. Whether you’re making a Sunday supper or hosting a casual get-together, Martha Stewart has put together 52 diverse menus that make the most of each season’s flavors–and the various ways we like to cook as the weather changes.

Nobel Prize Winners

Check out these titles from 2017 Nobel Prize Winners in Literature and Economics:

Remains of the DayThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is Kazuo Ishiguro’s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the “great gentleman,” Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness,” and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.

 

NudgeNudge : improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness by Richard Thaler

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and legal scholar and bestselling author Cass Sunstein explain in this important exploration of choice architecture that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.

Back to School

Summer’s over, but don’t fret. Here are some books to get you back to school.

 

 Old FilthOld Filth by Jane Gardam

Sir Edward Feathers has had a brilliant career, from his early days as a lawyer in Southeast Asia, where he earned the nickname Old Filth (FILTH being an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong) to his final working days as a respected judge at the English bar. Yet through it all he has carried with him the wounds of a difficult and emotionally hollow childhood. Now an eighty-year-old widower living in comfortable seclusion in Dorset, Feathers is finally free from the regimen of work and the sentimental scaffolding that has sustained him throughout his life. He slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, Feathers approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away.

The MagiciansThe Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The Art of FieldingThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets.

Straight ManStraight Man by Richard Russo

William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.  Devereaux’s reluctance is partly rooted in his character–he is a born anarchist–and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television.  All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions.  In short, Straight Man is classic Russo–side-splitting, poignant, compassionate, and unforgettable.

Dear Committee MembersDear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can’t catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work  In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.