Weekly book agenda: young adult novel 'Dark Life,' Riordan's 'The Red Pyramid'

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The Independent Culture

Two books due out this week continue the young adult and children's book craze fueled by recent titles such as the Twilight series and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. Kat Falls's young adult novel Dark Life was slated for a Disney film adaptation before the book hit shelves, and Riordan's The Red Pyramid builds on the success of Percy Jackson with a new series aimed at ages 9-12.

'Dark Life' by Kat Falls
May 1

Kat Falls's young adult novel Dark Life has the rare distinction of having been slated for a film adaptation before the book - the author's debut novel - was published. Due out in the UK on August 5, Dark Life is set in an apocalyptic future where global warming has caused the seas to rise, leading survivors to form an underwater community on the ocean floor. The story revolves around a boy named Ty, who has relocated underwater with his family, and Gemma, a girl he meets from "Topside." The book movie adaptation will reportedly be directed by Robert Zemeckis for Disney.

'The Red Pyramid' by Rick Riordan
May 4

The Red Pyramid is the first book in a new trilogy by Rick Riordan, author of the bestselling Percy Jackson books. The Kane Chronicles will focus on siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, decendants of Egyptian magicians, who battle Egyptian gods in the modern world. Riordan's Percy Jackson series includes five titles of which 12 million copies are now in print in 34 countries. The film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, released in February, has grossed $180 million worldwide. The Kane Chronicles is already set to be published in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Israel, and Brazil.

Lost Man Booker Prize
May 19
London, UK

The Man Booker Prize has created a one-off award to honor books published in 1970, the only missing year in the history of the prize since it began. Online voting is now underway for a winning title. The shortlist includes The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden, Troubles by J. G. Farrell, The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard, Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault, and The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark.

James Patterson's 'Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland'
May 19

The international best-selling author of the Alex Cross detective series is set to release the first comic book in a five-part series based on his young adult novel Witch & Wizard. Dara Naraghi wrote the book with direction from Patterson, Victor Santos provides illustrations and cover art, and J.K. Woodward contributed a painted cover. In June, Patterson's non-fiction book The Murder of King Tut will be released in a graphic adaptation, the first in a series of four. Both titles are available for pre-order.

Book Expo America
May 25
New York City, USA

BookExpo America is the premier book fair in North America and the largest English-language book fair in the world. More than 1,500 exhibitors and 500 authors are expected to attend the 2010 event, as well as up to 30,000 visitors. For publishing professionals, the fair will likely see a record number of deals, after April's Icelandic volcanic eruption led to lower attendance at the London Book Fair. BookExpo America will be a star-studded event, with Jon Stewart, Condoleeza Rice, Cory Doctorow, Sarah Ferguson, John Grisham, Sara Gruen, and Christopher Hitchens all scheduled to take part.

John Grisham's 'Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer'
May 25/June 10

The first in a series of children's books by John Grisham novels will focus on Theodore Boone, Grisham's first series character, and will be geared to families and children aged 9-12. According to the publisher: "Theo Boone is the ultimate Grisham unlikely hero, a thirteen-year-old boy who knows more about the law than most lawyers who, in the first novel of the series, finds himself unwillingly caught up in his town's first murder trial." Grisham is best known for his internationally best-selling legal novels, including A Time to Kill and The Client.

Stephen King's 'Blockade Billy'

May 25

Blockade Billy, Stephen King's baseball-themed novella, was released April 20 as a limited edition hardcover and is now due out internationally. The novella tells the story of William 'Blockade Billy' Blakely, "the first - and only - player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. ... Every effort was made to erase any evidence that William Blakely played professional baseball, and with good reason. Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse... ." The novella will be available in hardcover, audio, and e-book editions.

Hay Festival

May 27 - June 6
Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Famously called "Woodstock of the mind" by former US president Bill Clinton, the Hay Festival was founded in 1988 and has become one of the world's most prominent literary festivals, growing to encompass political themes, science, law, art, music, and film. The 2010 festival will feature a long list of writers, including Hilary Mantel, Melvyn Bragg, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tom Stoppard, Roddy Doyle, Bill Bryson, and well-known voices in Arab literature. Speakers from other fields include neuroscientist David Eagleman, theologian Maggi Dawn, and astronomer Martin Rees. More than 100,000 visitors are expected. Tickets for individual events can be booked at the festival's website.