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Tribune News Service

Book Budget for Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Updated at 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 UTC).

^AUTHORS, BESTSELLERS<

^Hollywood has gobbled up book rights during the pandemic. Here's why<

^BOOK-CORONAVIRUS-MOVIE-RIGHTS:LA—<Author Rumaan Alam kept his expectations low, even as the film rights to his upcoming book "Leave the World Behind" became the center of a bidding contest among Hollywood studios this summer.

During two brisk weeks in July, the Brooklyn-based novelist kept interrupting his family vacation on Fire Island to field phone calls from agents, producers and executives. Sam Esmail, creator of USA Network's "Mr. Robot," was on board to direct a feature based on the socially conscious thriller. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington had agreed to star and produce. Studios including Netflix, Apple and MGM were making offers.

Alam remained skeptical until that Monday when, while on the beach with his husband and two sons, he got the call from Michelle Weiner, head of Creative Artists Agency's books department, who was handling the auction, saying they'd scored a deal with Netflix.

The lickety-split deal-making for Alam's novel is just one example of a larger trend that has played out in the entertainment business during the COVID-19 pandemic: a surge in deals for studios to adapt books for film and TV.

1900 by Ryan Faughnder in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Authors hope 2020 turns the page in push for diverse children's books<

^BOOK-DIVERSITY-KIDS:AT—<Years ago, when she worked at a public library, Kathleen Horning's story time for toddlers also proved to be a moment of social research. After reading diverse books to crowds of mostly white or mostly Black children, Horning would arrange books on the floor at the toddlers' eye level and wait. The children gravitated to books with familiar characters, but time and again, she saw white parents intervene — exchanging books that featured Black characters on the cover with different books.

"The only time they didn't replace the children's choices was if they picked up a book with an animal character," said Horning, director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Asking a white child to identify with a Black child was just too much of a stretch but not asking them to relate to a badger." It reinforced what Horning had long believed: In books, representation matters.

The lack of diversity in children's books has been a topic of discussion for more than 50 years, but not much has changed. Writers of color, both established and new, said they continue to face inequities in the industry even as publishers have pledged to take action on diversity.

2500 (with trims) by Nedra Rhone in Atlanta. MOVED

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^2020 National Book Awards finalists focus on BIPOC life, urgent issues<

^BOOK-NATIONALBOOKAWARDS-FINALISTS:LA—<This year's National Book Awards finalists suit the current moment to a tee.

Featuring stories about climate change, police violence against Black people and queer love stories, 25 works were chosen by the National Book Foundation on Tuesday in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people's literature. Among the finalists are two writers previously recognized by the foundation — Lydia Millet, who made the awards longlist in 2016, and Charles Yu, a 2007 "5 Under 35" honoree. Eight of the 25 finalists are first-time authors.

500 by Laura Zornosa. MOVED

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^FICTION REVIEWS<

^Review: 'The Searcher,' by Tana French<

^BOOK-SEARCHER-REVIEW:MS—<"The Searcher," Tana French's eighth mystery, is set in the West of Ireland, and for the first 150 pages or so it's a compelling novel of rural Irish life as seen through the eyes of an American outsider. At first, the book hardly seems like a mystery at all — sure, a young man is missing, but no one seems too concerned other than the man's little brother Trey, and no body turns up, and chances are that the guy probably just left town.

600 by Laurie Hertzel. MOVED

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^Book review: Detective battles sexism on the force in new series launch 'Shadow Ridge'<

^BOOK-SHADOW-RIDGE-REVIEW:FL—<South Florida author M.E. "Micki" Browning melds an energetic police procedural and an appealing heroine set against a vivid Colorado background in this launch of a new series that shows great potential.

350 by Oline H. Cogdill. MOVED

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^Review: 'The Finders,' by Jeffrey B. Burton<

^BOOK-FINDERS-REVIEW:MS—<Mace Reid trains dogs to find the dead. As a human remains recovery specialist, he helps out at crime scenes with his team of cadaver dogs — who, as any dog lover knows, has become his family.

Mace has had a lousy year. His recent divorce still haunts him, and he lost his favorite dog. When a rescued golden retriever named Vira suddenly lands in his lap, he starts to take an interest in the new team member and in the female cop, Kippy, who saved the dog from a grim fate and delivered her to his door.

300 by Ginny Greene. MOVED

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^Review: 'Fair Warning,' by Michael Connelly<

^BOOK-FAIR-WARNING-REVIEW:MS—<There are probably two kinds of Michael Connelly fans: those who wish he'd stick to an annual Harry Bosch/Mickey Haller book, and everyone else. This year, he's keeping all of 'em happy.

100 by Chris Hewitt . MOVED

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^NONFICTION REVIEWS<

^Review: Reconstructing one of America's greatest art-filled houses<

^BOOK-HOLLYWOOD-ARENSBERG-REVIEW:LA—<Knud Merrild was just about the only avant-garde Los Angeles artist whose work was acquired by Louise and Walter Arensberg, the powerhouse collecting couple who moved from Manhattan to Los Angeles in 1921. In their jam-packed house in the Outpost foothills, a couple of blocks behind Sid Grauman's pseudo-Chinese extravaganza of a movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard, a few modest examples of Merrild's work would eventually be found.

Merrild (1894-1954) was an enigmatic artist who is hardly a household name today. Still, some of his small pictures were tucked in among the staggering array of not-quite-yet globally acclaimed masterpieces by the likes of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Constantin Brancusi, Fernand L ger, Salvador Dal , Giorgio de Chirico and scores more.

1250 by Christopher Knight. MOVED

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^PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLERS<

^<

^BOOK-BEST:MCT—<Bestselling books from Publishers Weekly. (Moving Thursday afternoon)

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