Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Inskeep’s JACKSONLAND

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 8.18.35 AMSteve Inskeep’s Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) rises to #51 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the author’s appearances on Morning Edition (where he is the co-host) and on PBS NewsHour.

Inskeep’s history explores Jackson’s role in the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation as well as the brilliant efforts of Chief John Ross to stop him, using the tools of democracy and politics to protect Cherokee land. He sought white allies, brought suit in the United States Supreme Court (and won), and published stories in newspapers. Nothing, however, could stop the relentless expansion Jackson and white farmers sought.

In recognition of this history, Inskeep argues in an OpEd piece in the New York Times, that Chief Ross’s image should replace Jackson’s  on the $20 bill.

Inskeep discusses his book with NewsHour co-host Judy Woodruff at Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant/bookstore in Washington D.C.

Neurosurgery’s Boswell

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

9781250065810_f4331-2British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh’s book, Do No Harm  Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s; HighBridge Audio, 5/25/15), “gives us an extraordinarily intimate, compassionate and sometimes frightening understanding of his vocation. He writes with uncommon power and frankness,” according to critic Michiko Kakutani in today’s New York Times.  The New Yorker also gives the book high marks  saying Marsh “writes like a novelist—he thinks in terms of scenes, patterns, and contrasts,” comparing him to Ian McEwan, who provides the book’s cover blurb,

Neurosurgery has met its Boswell in Henry Marsh. Painfully honest about the mistakes that can “wreck” a brain, exquisitely attuned to the tense and transient bond between doctor and patient, and hilariously impatient of hospital management, Marsh draws us deep into medicine’s most difficult art and lifts our spirits. It’s a superb achievement.

Marsh is more interested in his failures than his successes, and therefore, as Kakutani says, the book can make unsettling reading. However, given the number of books by physicians that have found their way to best seller lists recently, that may not be a deter readers. Check your holds.

STEVE JOBS, Trailer

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The movie Steve Jobs has a multitude of high-profile names attached to it, including director Danny Boyle, screen writer Aaron Sorkin, lead actor, Michael Fassbender and the author of the bio it’s based on, Walter Isaacson. It was teased in appropriate fashion with a spot on last night’s high-profile final episode (the “final episode EVER” as we were continually reminded) of AMC’s Mad Men.

The trailer is less than a minute long, but that gave critics enough to work with, from the New York Times (“seems to be courting Oscars right out of the gate”) to the L.A. Times  (“As befits the legacy of Jobs — an inveterate showman who whipped the Apple faithful into a frenzy by keeping the company’s creations secret until just the right moment — the teaser is enigmatic and intriguing”).

The movie arrives Oct. 9. A tie-in has not been announced.

Controversy Sells;
CLINTON CASH

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.26.35 AMProving once again that there’s nothing like controversy to help sell a book, Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer (Harper; HarperCollins audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Best Seller List at #2 for the week of May 24.

The book accuses the Clintons of selling influence to foreign governments and individuals through the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton campaign has fought back by identifying several factual errors. As a result, Harper has changed the Kindle version to delete passages or revise sections. As reported in Politico, Amazon sent purchasers a notice that “significant revisions have been made” to their electronic copies, which Harper then said were just  “7-8 factual corrections.”

Undaunted, Schweizer continues roiling up controversy. In the new issue of USA Today, he objects to his testy interview with George Stephanopoulos in April, saying he should get a do-over because the broadcaster did not reveal that he personally donated $75,000 to the Clinton campaign in 2012.

Order Alert: THING EXPLAINER

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.22.06 AMRandall Munroe, author of the runaway hit What If? has a new book coming out in November, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words (HMH, Nov. 24).

Munroe announced the book on his popular website xkcd, “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,” yesterday and it has already shot to #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

As Munroe details on his site, the book is a large format (9″ by 13″) collection of blueprints with diagrams of objects and explanations of their parts and uses, using only the most common 1,000 words in the English language. The result sometimes sounds like a precocious six-year-old (see the Saturn V rocket, called here, “Up Goer Five — The only flying space car that’s taken anyone to another world”). It could be the basis of some memorable party games.

There are still holds on What If? in libraries across the country. Expect high demand for Munroe’s upcoming title as well.

Entertainment Weekly,
Summer Reading, 2015

Monday, May 11th, 2015

ew1363cvr-cover-postBuried in Entertainment Weekly’s new issue, long after the “Baby Power List,” the lavish look at Quentin Tarantino’s “Bloody, Brutal Hateful Eight” and the excerpt of Stephen King’s upcoming Finders Keepers, (not online) comes the “Summer Books Preview.”

The full listing of 40 titles is not available online, but we’ve created an Edelweiss collection of all the titles so you can check for Digital Review Copies (NOTE: Ernest Cline’s hotly anticipated Armada, RH/Crown, just became available).

Below are links to the sections that are available online.

10 Big Fat Beach Reads To Look Out For This Summer

Hot Reads: 5 Sequels Coming To Bookshelves This Summer

5 Out-Of-This-World Tales To Read This Summer

THE DAILY SHOW Features
Big Lives This Week

Monday, May 4th, 2015

A Curious MindBrian Grazer appears tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his new book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) co-written with Charles Fishman.

Grazer, a high-powered Hollywood producer best known for films such as Apollo 13 and the currently hot Fox show Empire, was profiled early last month on CBS Sunday Morning, helping the book to land on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction best seller list.

His book explores the power of curiosity as a motivating and life-changing force. It has been such a central concept in Grazer’s life that he has conducted hundreds of “curiosity conversations” with a who’s who of famous names.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 10.02.44 AMOn Tuesday the legendary Willie Nelson sits down with Stewart to talk about his memoir It’s a Long Story: My Life (Hachette/Little, Brown; Machete Audio; OverDrive Sample), which chronicles the 82-year-old’s life from childhood in small town Abbott, TX, through the heyday of his career, following up on his 1988 memoir, Willie, and the more philosophical The Tao of Willie (2006) and 2012’s Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.

Nelson’s memoir is written with David Ritz, an award-winning author focused on music biographies, who also helped Ray Charles and Rick James tell their tales.

Nelson performed one of his most well-known hits on the finale of PBS Austin City Limits:

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS Soar

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Causing the book ro rise to #7 on Amazon sales rankings and holds to grow, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (S&S; S&S Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample), was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

The book, which come out tomorrow, is also reviewed by Janet Maslin in today’s New York Times.

Best Cookbooks of the Year

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 9.57.12 AMYucatán by David Sterling (University of Texas Press) is the 2015 James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year.

Sterling runs a Yucatán cooking school in Mexico and his book is an ode to the food he loves, a huge, 576 page encyclopedic tome, filled with photos and a richly detailed text. It weighs more than a five pound bag of flour and lists for $60. It won the award for best International Cookbook as well.

The James Beard Awards come on the heels of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Awards, which were announced late last month.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.03.37 AMTheir top pick is A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow (RH/Ten Speed Press; OverDrive Sample), the chef running The Restaurant at Meadowood, a three-Michelin-starred destination eatery in California. A mix of chef’s journey, regional spotlight, and artistic expression, it is a good example of the trend, as we reported last week, for cookbooks to be more than compilations of recipes.

Between the two awards there are five overlapping winners:

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.04.48 AMLiquid Intelligence by David Arnold (W.W. Norton) which won the James Beard Award for best Beverage book and the IACP Jane Grigson Award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.05.18 AMButchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat and Pork by Adam Danforth (Workman/Storey Publishing; OverDrive Sample) which won the James Beard award for Reference and Scholarship and the IACP Beverage/Reference/Technical award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.05.58 AMBar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle; OverDrive Sample) which won the James Beard Cooking from a Professional Point of View award and the IACP award for best Chefs and Restaurants book.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.06.42 AMHeritage by Sean Brock (Workman/Artisan) which won the James Beard American Cooking award and the IACP Julia Child First Book award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.07.49 AMAt Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin (Shambhala/Roost Books) which won the James Beard award for Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian cookbook and the IACP award for Health & Special Diet.

The full list of James Beard winners and IACP winners is available at each award’s website.

Judith Miller Tells Her Story

Monday, April 27th, 2015

The StoryJudith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, reported in 2002 that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD, Those stories, which were used by the Bush administration to help build the case for the invasion of Iraq, were later discredited for being based on false information. The NYT forced Miller to resign, but, before that, she was jailed for 85 days for not revealing the sources of information for a different story, one that outed Valerie Plame as a member of the CIA.

Now a FOX News commentator and a member of the conservative Manhattan Institute, she has written a memoir about her years at the NYTThe Story: A Reporter’s Journey (Simon & Schuster; Random House Audio; Thorndike;  OverDrive Sample).

Following a round of appearances earlier this month on several FOX shows, CBS This Morning, and on the Bill Maher Show, she will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Wednesday.

She is getting a tough reception by most commentators, her former employer, and other media outlets.

Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast offers a scathing review, stating:

Much of The Story, including a chapter titled “Scapegoat,” is Miller’s self-pitying account of how she was demonized by critics and enemies, inside and outside the Times, as an influential cheerleader for an unjustified and ultimately ruinous war conducted under false pretenses.

The NYT calls her book “sad and flawed” while The Washington Post‘s media critic says:

This dynamic — Judy Miller against the world — lends her book an aspect that is both depressing and desperate. Over more than 300 pages, Miller flays her critics (particularly those who write for blogs) and lays out a defense of her reporting that relies on bluster, repetition and a highly selective set of facts, some of the same ingredients that the Bush administration dropped into its case for the Iraq war.

The Columbia Journalism Review, which offers perhaps the most even handed review, still holds that:

The Story turns out to be less personal than we might wish, less a memoir than an apologia and an assault… alternately turgid and fascinating, if not in equal measure.

Published on April 7th, holds are light on light ordering around the country despite the amount of media attention.

UPDATE:
Stewart did not go easy on her. Holds are still modest.

RA Alert: Owls Take Flight

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 12.47.43 PMOwls are literally in the air. First came the PBS Nature episode “Owl Power” and now comes The House of Owls by Tony Angell (Yale UP; OverDrive Sample).

The book is a cross between natural history, bird watching, and memoir. Lavishly illustrated by Angell, who is a celebrated artist from the Pacific Northwest, it also strikes a cord for those who enjoy grown-up picture books.

It is getting attention in The Wall Street Journal, in a review that makes the book sound as irresistible as the cover art,  The Seattle Times, which lists it as one of its “30 Books for Spring Reading,” and is climbing Amazon’s rankings, putting it, if its rise continues, in striking range of bestseller lists.

Holds Alert: THE RESIDENCE

Monday, April 27th, 2015

9780062305190_e24b8Check your copies, Kate Andersen Brower’s The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a holds superstar with wait-lists growing into triple digits and holds ratios topping 5:1 across the country.

As we reported earlier, the book is a behind-the-scenes account of the staff that the runs the White House – from the Kennedy administration through the Obamas. It recently made the news due to its Clinton connection (dishy details over the Monica fallout).

The book is only going to get hotter with the news that Kevin Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street, (responsible for House of Cards, Captain Phillips, The Social Network), has bought the TV rights.

According to Politico, the plan for the show is to create:

… a modern and fictional 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue spin on Downton Abbey, wherein the White House’s butlers, stewards, maids and the like are the stars, often more committed to the mansion and upholding its historic traditions than to the family who lives there.

The book is currently #5 on NYT Best Seller list (down from #3 last week) but is rising on Amazon and out of stock at both Ingram and B&T.

According to the NY Post the juicy gossip is not limited to the Clintons, there are plenty of other revelations about Presidential behavior (good and salacious), first wives (Nancy Regan is called “spoiled rotten”), and first kids behaving badly.

It is also full of history and context and likely to prove irresistible on TV.

GRACE Of LIFETIME

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

9781602862418_df7f5A year after it was controversially featured as the opening film at Cannes, American audiences will finally get to see the bio-pic featuring Niclole Kidman as Princess Grace, titled after the book it is based on, Grace of Monaco by Jeffrey Robinson (Perseus/Da Capo; Audio, Dreamscape).

It is not coming to the big screen, however. In quite a comedown from opening the Cannes Festival, it makes its U.S. debut on the cable network Lifetime on Memorial Day, May 25th.

The film was booed at Cannes and the kinder critics said is was “not Kidman’s finest hour.”

Cookbooks, “The Golden Age”

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Remember when people thought the digital age would spell the end to cookbooks?

Ironically, the online recipe site, Epicurious, begs to differ. Calling this the “Cookbook Golden Age,” they say, “If cookbooks were just collections of recipes, you could sum them up in an index. But the best books weave the wit and spirit of their authors right into every page.”

They have whittled “The Epicurious Cookbook Canon Longlist,” based on nominees from readers, down to just ten.

Either list is a great opportunity for a display, real or virtual.

Also check out Epicurious‘s list of 30 Spring Cookbooks We’re Excited For (hurrah! our favorite Brooklyn ice cream truck/stand reveals their secrets in June; Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, HarperCollins/Ecco).

A Cop With Storytelling Chops

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.12.05 AMSteve Osborne is a storytelling genius as is clear by his appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air.

At a time when cops are in the news for all the wrong reasons, Osborne brings a new voice to the conversation, an authentic and compelling one telling vivid and visceral stories about life on the line.

In his debut memoir, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop (RH/Doubleday; BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample), Osborne relates stories from 20 years in the New York Police Department.

Osborne is also a favorite on The Moth (a not-for profit storytelling collective) where he has honed his story telling chops, a fact quite evident as he turned his interview on Fresh Air into a performance of its own. His book jumped up the Amazon rankings as a result.

In a wise move, Books on Tape has Osborne narrate the audiobook.