Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Shocker: Harper Lee Doesn’t Like New Book About Her

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Mockingbird, NwsltrA bio cum memoir about Harper Lee and her sister,  Marja Mills’ The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, (Penguin Press; Thorndike), published today, is piling up some great reviews. The Washington Post calls is “engrossing” and Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, said it gives a “rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sisters’ lives.” She goes on to say that, “Fortunately, in Mills, the sisters found a genteel family chronicler knocking at their door at the eleventh hour.”

But the famously reclusive and litigious 88-year-old Harper Lee is not a genteel subject. She has written a letter, reprinted in Entertainment Weekly‘s online column, “Shelf Life,” saying that the book was written on false pretenses, “Miss Mills befriended my elderly sister, Alice. It did not take long to discover Marja’s true mission; another book about Harper Lee. I was hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised. I immediately cut off all contact with Miss Mills, leaving town whenever she headed this way.”

UNBROKEN Trailer Released

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The death last week of Louis Zamperini brought renewed attention to Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book about the Olympian and WWII hero, Unbroken, causing it to rise on best seller lists (from #88 on the USA Today list to #7).

A second boost is likely to come from the just-released trailer for the movie adaptation.

The L.A. Times says it “bears many of the hallmarks of an awards-season contender, including an inspirational true story, a potential breakout performance and a pair of Oscar-winning screenwriters…The trailer provides a glimpse of what looks to be a fierce performance from newcomer Jack O’Connell as Zamperini .”

Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie opens on Dec. 25


A paperback edition, with new photos and an interview with the author, will be published later this month.

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Random House: July 29, 2014
9780812974492, 0812974492
Trade paperback

WILD Trailer

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Based on the trailer, released today, Wild, adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s brutally honest memoir is already being called an Ocsar contender.

That may not be such a leap. Wild‘s director, Jean-Marc Vallee did pretty well at the Oscars last year with The Dallas Buyers Club.

It opens Dec. 5th.

Tie-in:

Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cheryl Strayed
RH/Knopf: November 18, 2014
9781101873441, 1101873442
Trade paperback

Greenwald Continues to Make News

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

No Place to HideWhen interviewed on the Colbert Report, about his new book  No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State(Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio; May 13), Glenn Greenwald said he was working on a story he believed would have even more impact than his previous reporting as it would reveal who the NSA has been spying on.

That story was published this morning on Greenwald’s news site, The Intercept, and, as expected, is being picked up widely (see ABC news story below).


ABC News | ABC Sports News

Greenwald’s book moved to #23 on last week’s  NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list, after being in the top ten for 4 weeks (with a high of #5). It’s still on hold in many libraries.

FACTORY MAN — In a Class with SEABISCUIT

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

9780316231435_f1fc7Already having declared her love for Beth Macy’s nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15), in her summer previewNYT‘s daily reviewer, Janet Maslin, gave it a full review just before the holiday.

Her opinion is not dimmed. Saying this book, subtitled,  How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — And Helped Save An American Town, is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.”

She also notes that, since the book is published by Hachette, it is another victim of  the Amazon/Hachette battle and will not be available for purchase on Amazon until pub date or on Kindle,  but ” it’s worth the trouble to read what will be one of the best, and surely most talked about, books of 2014.”

The ORANGE Effect

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

The second season of Orange Is The New Black was released on NetFlix on June 6th. It may have wandered  from the book, and may not live up to the first season, but it features even more references to other books, so many that Entertainment Weekly was able to create a season 2 reading list of a dozen titles (ranging from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars).

The memoir’s author, Piper Kerman appeared on the Diane Rehm show recently, to talk about her life since the book and the series and her work for prison reform.

With the airing of the new series, Orange Is The New Black has moved back up best seller lists.

BLACK MASS Begins Production

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

After many delays, the movie Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch, began shooting two weeks ago in Boston (for those in the area, On Location Vacations has scouted out the filming locations). It is now scheduled for release some time in October, 2015.

9781610391092-2The film is based on the life of legendary Boston crime boss, Whitey Bulger. Now in his eighties, he was finally found guilty of multiple murders and other crimes last year. The Hollywood press greeted the verdict as providing an ending for the inevitable biopic.

As his nickname implies, Bulger was called that because of his white blonde hair, which was also balding. As a result, Depp has had to change his look.

There have been many books about Bulger, but this movie credit goes to Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal, by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill (PublicAffairs, 2000; paperback, 2012) .

Whitey Bulger

Published last year, Whitey BulgerAmerica’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy (Norton, 2/11/13) was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and described as not only a fascinating story, but “just a great read.”

A documentary film about Bulger, Whitey: United States of America V. James J. Bulger  is also on its way, set for a limited theatrical release on June 27, to be broadcast later this year on CNN.

Comedy Central’s Book Bumps

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Stephen Colbert continued his public fight against Amazon on Friday, saying the company’s “scorched-earth tactics” against publisher Hachette, have resulted in “more people getting screwed than in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

California BumpCalifornia Bump

In an earlier show, he noted that Amazon’s disabling of the pre-order functions for Hachette titles is particularly hard on first-time authors, so he enlisted viewers to buy Edan Lepucki’s debut novel California (Hachette/Little,Brown), which is also a LibraryReads pick, via Powells. As of Friday, over 6,400 copies had been pre-ordered. Now he is urging viewers to make it a New York Times best-seller by continuing to pre-order copies through Powell’s and other independent booksellers.

Other Titles Getting The Bump

Sons of Wichita  Redeeming the Dream  The Confidence Code

Fellow Comedy Central host, Jon Stewart, who is also published by Hachette/Grand Central, has not formally joined the fight, but he will give a bump to another Hachette title tonight on The Daily Show, by interviewing Daniel Schulman, author of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (Hachette/Grand Central).

Also tonight, Colbert will feature a title from Penguin Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality David Boies, Theodore B. Olson, (Penguin/Viking).

And on Wednesday, Colbert will interview Katty Kay and Claire Shipman co-authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, (HarperBusiness).

Oliver Stone To Film Snowden Story

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

No Place to Hide   Snowden Files

Sony’s movie version of Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio) now has competition. Oliver Stone just announced plans to film another book on the story, Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, (RH/Vintage), published as an original trade paperback in the U.S. in February.

There’s a rivalry between the books’ authors as well. Greenwald worked for The Guardian when he broke his stories about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance on private citizens. After he left to co-found The Intercept, Harding,  one of The Guardian’s  foreign correspondents, published The Snowden Files. In an interview in the Financial Times, Greenwald dismissed it as a “bullshit book … written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden.

In the New York Times, Michikio Kakutani saw movie potential in Harding’s book, calling it “a fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative that is part bildungsroman and part cinematic thriller.” She also reviewed Greenwald’s book, mostly favorably, but objected to his portrayal of  “the establishment media,” and its “glaring subservience to political power.”

Stone plans to begin shooting before the end of the year. In an interview last year, the director told The Guardian (which is cooperating with him on the film), “To me, Snowden is a hero. He revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment.”

FRESH OFF THE BOAT To ABC

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Fresh off the boatThe ABC TV series based on NYC restaurateur Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; BOT), has been given the green light for the 2014/2015 season.

Looks like they are sticking with the memoir title for the series. Earlier we reported that the network had changed the title to Far East Orlando, which received protests for being racist from many, including Huang.

Now the original title is getting its own criticism via Twitter.

Trailer below:

MOST DANGEROUS Publicity

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Most Dangerous AnimalIf you were blindsided by the news about a book published on Tuesday, The Most Dangerous Animal of All, by Gary L. Stewart (Harper), you’re not alone.  As Newsweek reports, HarperCollins worked to keep the story under wraps.

If that was an effort to insure that all the publicity hits at once, it’s working. The news about the author’s search for his biological father, which led to the chilling discovery of a man, now dead, who might have been the infamous Zodiac Killer, first broke in New York magazine’s “Intellingencer” blog and was picked up by dozens of other news media. Next up, it is featured in the new issue of People magazine (on newsstands tomorrow; available digitally now).

The Zodiac Killer was believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least five people in the San Francisco area in the late 1960’s. That story was the basis of David Fincher’s 2007 movie, Zodiac.

Gotta Read: ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT SEA

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Another Great DayWe’re always on the look out for reviews that make our mouths water. Laura Miller did it for us yesterday in Salon with her review of Geoff Dyer’s Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, (RH/Pantheon), a book we neglected to include in our highlights for the week. Not only did she make us want to read that book, but every other book Dyer has written.

As she says, the very concept is brilliant,

The notion of installing a writer of Dyer’s baroquely sensitive and self-conscious temperament aboard an American aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf is obviously a stroke of genius. In fact, Dyer’s two-week writer-in-residency stint on the USS George H.W. Bush was his own idea…

She wanders off for a paragraph about the book not being what she had expected, a failing of many reviewers, but quickly gets it back on track and offers great stuff for readers advisors to steal.

Even More, NO PLACE TO HIDE

Monday, May 19th, 2014

NewImage.pngMedia focus has been heavy on Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio), propelling it up Amazon sales rankings (it’s currently at #14).

More attention may be coming, in the form of a movie. Sony has optioned rights. Many have noted the book reads like a spy novel. Appropriately, Sony is planning to produce the movie with the team behind the recent James Bond movies.

In addition to earlier appearances on the Today Show, The Colbert Report (where he said he is working on an even more explosive story on the NSA), and NPR’s Fresh Air, Greenwald appeared on Fox News today.

Authors on Stewart & Colbert

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Stress Text.png  Innovative State  A Fighting Chance

This week, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert dive into politics with two authors that have been at odds with each other. Elizabeth Warren appears on Colbert on Monday. Her book, A Fighting Chance (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan: Macmillan Audio) is already a best seller (#5 on the NYT list after 2 weeks at #2). She appeared on Stewart’s show last month.

Her nemesis, former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, author of Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises (RH/Crown; Random House Audio; Random House Large Print), appears on Stewart’s show on Wednesday. His book is now #34 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

On Tuesday, Stewart turns his attention to the tech world, featuring the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (2009 to 2012), Aneesh Chopra. His new book is Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government, (Atlantic Monthly Press, May 6).

Jon Stewart’s Movie Closer to Screen

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater, has been acquired for release in the U.S. by Open Road Films.

The film is based on one of the many books Stewart has featured on the Daily Show, Maziar Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me, (Random House, 2011), about the author’s imprisonment in Iran.

The title comes form the nickname of one of Bahari’s captors. It stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, whose previous credits include the role of Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries.

The release date has not yet been announced.

Below, Bahari appears on The Daily Show in 2009, after his release: