Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Bits Part Two

by Bob Minzesheimer)

'Unbroken' for kids: Random House plans to publish a young adult version of Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling Unbroken, the non-fiction account of a track star who became a World War II hero. It will be published on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11. The film adaptation, directed by Angelina Jolie, is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 25. Click here to read USA TODAY's 2010 interview with Hillenbrand.

A best seller before prize: Most novels that win the Pulitzer Prize are more literary than commercial. Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch – this year's winner, announced Monday – is an exception. After landing at No. 5 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list in October, it's been in the top 30 for 25 weeks. Since the list began in 1993, only one other fiction winner has been higher: Cormac McCarthy's The Road hit No. 2 in 2007, shortly before it won the Pulitzer. It had just been chosen for Oprah's Book Club. More typical is a novel like Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. It didn't crack the top 150 until it won a Pulitzer in 2011, soaring to No. 49.

A star rises again: It's no surprise John Green's best-selling novel for teens, The Fault in Our Stars, jumps from No. 7 to No. 2 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list after its long-awaited release in paperback. But some may be surprised by the details. Its most popular format is the hardcover edition – not the cheaper e-book or paperback. That's a sign, booksellers say, of a book that readers want to keep as part of their libraries or give as a gift. The paperback has two covers. One is similar to the original hardcover. The other features the two young stars of the film adaptation – opening June 6 -- Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. But the movie tie-in edition accounts for only about 10% of sales tracked by USA TODAY. The release of the movie trailer in February pushed the novel to No. 1. It's been in the top 10 for the past 17 weeks.

More of Spirit Animals: Kids who have been reading Spirit Animals, the 7-book fantasy series linked to an online game, know about the the noble animals who sacrificed everything to protect their homes from a mad king. Now, publisher Scholastic will tell their back stories in Spirit Animals: Tales of the Great Beasts, to be released Oct. 21. A collection of stories written by Brandon Mull and others, it's aimed at readers 8 to 12. Click here to read an exclusive excerpt in USA TODAY and see the jacket.

A student's posthumous book: Haley Goldberg, a senior at the University of Michigan, writes in USA TODAY about The Opposite of Loneliness, a collection of essays and stories by Marina Keegan who died in a car accident in 2012, five days after graduating Yale. The title comes from Keegan's final essay in The Yale Daily News which went viral — receiving more than 1.4 million reads.

Dangerous best seller:Found Wanting, a romance novel by Joyce Lamb, curator of the "Happy Ever After" blog for USA TODAY, is among 12 novels in a boxed set, Dangerous Dozen, that hits USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list at No. 86. The Kindle price for all novels is 99 cents.

Who's special? High school English teacher David McCullough, son of the Pulitzer Prize winning historian, attracted attention two years ago with a commencement speech that warned graduates, "You are not special." Now he talks to USA TODAY about his new collection of essays,You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements, to be published Tuesday by Ecco. And for our look at three other books -- by Katherine Schwarzenegger, Sheryl Sandberg and George Saunders -- all aimed at recent graduates, click here.

You can follow USA TODAY's book reviewer and reporter Bob Minzesheimer on twitter: @bookbobminz