Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

A Different Kind of Author Tour

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Bestselling author JD Vance and AOL co-founder Steve Case will travel together this fall reports USA Today, on the next wave of the Rise of the Rest program, a “campaign to drum up interest in tech start-ups not based in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, Seattle and other coastal tech hubs.”

This is the fourth year of the project dreamed up by Case, although it is the first for Vance. After a whirlwind visit and a series of pitch meetings, Case invests $100,000 in one local start-up. Thus far he has visited 26 cities.

“The data is the data and last year the (National Venture Capital Association) said that 75% of venture capital went to just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts,” Case told the paper. His venture capital firm started the Rise of the Rest program to help correct that by identifying and supporting start-ups across the Rust Belt and Midwest.

Vance’s bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) is currently #7 on the NYT Hardback Nonfiction list after 47 straight weeks. Film rights have been acquired as well. The memoir arrived as the presidential campaign was heating up. The media embraced Vance’s sympathetic portrait of life in the Rust Belt as an explanation for the deep divides that drove the election.

Westward Ho With a Fresh Air Bump

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny by Michael Wallis (Norton/Liveright; OverDrive Sample) is moving up the Amazon charts, currently at #62 from #9,956, thanks to a feature on NPR’s Fresh Air.

The struggling Donner Party is known for restoring to cannibalism to survive, but Wallis says “there’s so much more. That’s why I wanted to tell the back story.”

Wallis details the hardships of the journey and how they broke the members of the party down, both physically and psychologically. Sadly, many of their problems came from their own errors, such as packing too much, taking the wrong route, misjudging the weather, and assuming too much while knowing too little.

On what can be learned from their story, Wallis says “I think it tells us not only about the American West but really about the whole nation … Those of us who do not learn our history are doomed to repeat it … The words that ring out to me continually are two words that combined can be very fatal, then as now, and those words are: ignorance and arrogance.”

True West reviews the book in an illustrated account, writing it “will be considered for many years the primary volume for students and scholars seeking a detailed and well-annotated history of the tragic tale of emigration on the Overland Trail to California.”

PW stars it, writing Wallis “reclaims the horrific story of the infamously ill-fated wagon train from the annals of sensationalism.”

Gold Rush

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

James Ledbetter, author of One Nation Under Gold: How One Precious Metal Has Dominated the American Imagination for Four Centuries (Norton/Liveright; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample), spoke on NPR’s Fresh Air about the ways gold has been perceived through American history.

The discussion covers the history of money in the US and the many different currencies that were used in the early days, including those issued by states and banks issued and even from other countries. The conversation also covers the role of the Gold Rush in monetary policy, the creation of Fort Knox, and the period of time when citizens had to turn in their gold to the government. In more recent times, there was even a 20th century alchemy quest to create more gold, called Operation Goldfinger.

NPR’s Dave Davies, filling in for host Terry Gross, says the book further details how gold became “a symbol of permanence and quality and most of all a store of value.”

RAVEN ROCK Rises

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

NPR’s Fresh Air sends Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) skyrocketing up the Amazon charts, moving to #25 from #1,933.

Graff’s book explores newly declassified government plans for continuity in case of disaster, written at the start of the atomic era and elaborated upon during the Cold War. Host Terry Gross calls it “a mix of the terrifying, the absurd, and the bureaucratic.”

Graff tells Gross about one of the shelter bunkers for chosen government officials:

“Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It’s a free-standing city … [with] three-story buildings. It has everything that a small city would — there’s a fire department there, there’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day, it’s a 24 hour facility … today [it] could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.”

As for his subtitle, Graff says that at the start of the planning process the government thought most of the population would survive an attack but now the plan is that “The civilian population will be left to itself for weeks or months at a time, and a small number of senior government officials will be spirited out to these bunkers with the hope that within months or a few years they’re able to reconstitute something that resembles the United States again.”

New Attention for FLOWER MOON

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings again, after an appearance on ABC’s The View during which Grann enthralled the hosts with the story of a series of all but forgotten crimes perpetrated on a group of Native Americans.

The book has been on the NYT‘s Hardcover Nonfiction list for eight weeks, rising as high as #4, currently at #11. It is #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s “The 10 Best Books of the Year so Far.

LibraryReads and an Indie Next pick. it was on a number of best spring book lists. As we have previously posted, the film rights were sold in a hot auction for 5 million, roughly a year before the book hit shelves. Variety says it “was one of the highest prices paid for movie rights in recent memory.”

Dog Finds Man

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

A stray dog nabs herself a multi book and movie deal.

A tiny but hardy pup, approached ultra-marathoner Dion Leonard during a long distance race in China across part of the Gobi Desert. She stayed with him, running nearly 80 miles. Leonard named her after the desert.

Her story, and his, gets even more dramatic. Once the run was over Gobi disappeared in a Chinese city while Leonard was raising funds to adopt her and take her back to his home in Scotland. An international effort launched on the Internet helped find her, hurt but ultimately OK.

He says that he has no idea why she came to him in the wilderness, “whether it was my smell — we don’t shower during the week in these races — or whether it was something else, whether it was a past life connection. It was definitely fate and I’m so glad that she chose me … she’s brought lots of joy to people around the globe with our story.”

That story is captured in Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard with Craig Borlase (HC/Thomas Nelson, June 13; Thomas Nelson Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Coming August 9 are YA and children’s versions:

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Gobi: Young Reader’s Edition: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey by Dion Leonard, adapted by Aaron Rosenberg (HC/Thomas Nelson).

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak (HC/Thomas Nelson).

A board book comes out in early 2018, Gobi for Little Ones: The Race for Home by Dion Leonard, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak (HC/Thomas Nelson).

Twentieth Century Fox is developing the movie. Variety reports the studio “has preemptively acquired the film rights to the book.”

A portion of the proceeds from Leonard’s book will go to help other dogs in China.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, First Trailer

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

9781250121462_c1182The first trailer for Dreamworks’ adaptation of David Finkel’s 2013 award-winning Thank You For Your Service has been released.

Oscar-nominated Jason Hall (for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Sniper) wrote the script and makes his directorial debut. Miles Teller (War Dogs) leads the large cast which also includes Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train) and Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) in what is billed as her first non-comedic role.

The film opens in theaters on October 27, 2017. As Variety reports, the release date is timed for awards season.

The book follows a group of soldiers as they try to adjust to civilian life after returning home from fighting in Baghdad, although the movie appears to focus on just one of them. A critical success, it was reviewed by the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, and The Guardian, shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award and selected as a NYT‘s Notable Books of 2013.

tie-in edition (Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio) arrives in September.

Sedaris On His Compulsion

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

PBS Newshour interviews humorist David Sedaris.

His new book, Theft by Finding (Hachette/Little Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is based on his diaries. Keeping a diary, he says, is something that people regard as disciplined, but for him, it’s a compulsion, something he does when he “should be out doing things.”

The book is currently #4 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-fiction list, after debuting last week at #3.

Telling His Story

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

In his just-released memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), Sherman Alexie writes about growing up in poverty and enduring violence so severe that he still suffers from PTSD. Discussing the book with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air, he begins by reading a passage bout trying to escape a family holiday party full of violent and dangerous people.

Yet, he says, “despite all my past and current mental illnesses, despite any pain that I have, that my life … is something amazing, and I’m grateful for that.”

The book made a strong move on the Amazon charts as a result, jumping into the Top 100 at #38, up from #410.

Claiming Space

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Roxane Gay talks with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air about her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (HC/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), proving the least interesting thing about her is her much-noted size.

In a smart and candid talk she tells Gross it is a book that felt necessary to write for the very fact it was the book she wanted to write least, “I was just dreading writing the book” she says, “while still feeling like this was a necessary book to write.”

Through the book she offers readers a story of her body as it is now and “what her body had endured” when she was young; she was gang raped at 12, betrayed and set up for a planned attack by a boy she trusted and a group of his friends.

She goes on to talk about her life now, about being fat, and the ways society is threatened by what she calls an “unruly body.”

Reviews are very strong. USA Today calls it “a thing of raw beauty” and writes “This wrenching work … is a yearning to be unburdened of secrets … Gay takes us on a journey in which we learn what it is to exist in a society that accuses you of taking up too much room, even as it refuses to yield a place for you.”

Literary Hub‘s Book Marks rounds up more reviews, many are raves such as the LA Times, which writes it is “a bracingly vivid account of how intellect, emotion and physicality speak to each other and work in tireless tandem to not just survive unspeakable hurt, but to create a life worth living and celebrating.”

The Atlantic says the book is “arresting and candid. At its best, it affords women, in particular, something so many other accounts deny them—the right to take up space they are entitled to, and to define what that means.”

It is currently #28 on Amazon’s Top 100 and has been moving upwards since its publication date. Holds are high in a number of libraries we checked, some topping 5:1.

Loving v. Virginia

Friday, June 16th, 2017

As part of their Race Matters series, PBS Newshour interviewed Sheryll Cashin, author of Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy (Beacon Press; OverDrive Sample).

Her book explores the 50 year-old case of Loving v. Virginia and the Supreme Court decision that allowed interracial marriage. It also considers the ways integration and diversity have and will change the political and cultural landscape of America.

In addition to the PBS interview Cashin also talked to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and published an article about on the case and its consequences in the NYT. Salon also has a feature.

A film based on the actual case came out last November:

DANGEROUS Leaked

Friday, June 16th, 2017

The book world has its own group of leakers. BuzzFeed News obtained a draft of Milo Yiannopoulos’s Dangerous as it was submitted to Simon and Schuster in January before the project was cancelled.

Yiannopoulos is now self-publishing the title, due out on July 4, but BuzzFeed says readers should not bother, calling it “terrible… no good by any measure … a staggering failure … To begin with, there is little news in the Dangerous draft, unless you believe the specifics of Yiannopoulos’s beauty regimen to be newsworthy.”

They also say that Yiannopoulos is clearly past his sell by date, concluding “Who cares if some English carpetbagger says mean things on the internet? The United States has bigger things to worry about than Milo Yiannopoulos now.”

Few libraries we checked had ordered copies. It has fallen from its #2 placement on Amazon to #94.

Order Alert: HUE 1968

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Check your holds and orders for Mark Bowden’s new book Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam (Atlantic Monthly Press; OverDrive Sample). Some libraries we checked are showing holds as high as 8:1. Other have not yet ordered it because it was dropped in fairly late and prepub reviews are just appearing (Kirkus, June 1 and Booklist, June 6, both stars).

Bestseller Bowden was on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, giving the book, which has already jumped on Amazon’s sales rankings, another strong push to #28.

Calling it “a remarkable book” host Dave Davies has Bowden lead listeners through the run up to the battles of Hue and some of the bloody experience of the fight. He also talks about the strategy and individual stories that unfolded during the conflict, as well as its disastrous outcome for both sides.

The interview runs nearly 45 minutes and in conclusion he says:

“What investigating this taught me was that, in fact, I think it was right to oppose this war. It was a mistake. It reflected a triumph of ideology over reality in Washington, this anti-communist ideology which completely ignored the realities of Southeast Asia and Vietnam’s history and what actually was happening there. And I think this is kind of a periodic thing that happens in American life, where, you know, these concepts of the world and America’s role in the world lead us into conflicts that – and then we collide with reality.”

As we have previously posted, the book is getting strong reviews and screen rights have already been sold.

Behind Terrorist Lines

Monday, June 12th, 2017

I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon after the author was interviewed on CBS This Morning.

Mekhennet, a national security correspondent for The Washington Post is also interviewed in the NYTdescribing her book in ways sure to bring in readers:

“A combination of memoir and reportage, this book gives the reader unique access behind the lines of jihad. This is a book to understand what drives people into the hands of recruiters, and the nature of the threat that is facing the West today.”

Getting to YES

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Author and activist Naomi Klein appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today to talk about her new book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Consortium Book Sales/Haymarket Books; OverDrive Sample).

It leaped on Amazon’s rankings as a result, moving from #98 to #36.

Taking a cue from the UK election, she says what helped Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party do so well and gain so many seats was that “he came out with a bold manifesto speaking to [voters’] better selves. He lead with ideas and that gave people hope.” She says the Democrats are missing a “tangible offer of how [they] are going to fix” what is wrong.

The new buzz adds to positive coverage in The Guardian and The Globe and Mail.