A picture book that celebrates the joys of math, released today, is rising on Amazon after Cory Doctorow gave it a rave on Boing Boing. Praising The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham (Roaring Brook) about the eccentric Hungarian math genius, Doctorow says it uses “numbers and mathematics through the text, with lively, fun illustrations of a young Erdős learning about negative numbers, becoming obsessed with prime numbers and leading his high-school chums on a mathematical tour of Budapest.” The ultimate accolade? His five-year-old daughter, “demanded that I read it to her three times in a row,” (spreads are available on the Boing Boing site)
Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category
The first trailer for the biopic JOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher was just released. Originally scheduled for April, it is now opening on Aug. 16. In addition to Kutcher as Steve Jobs, it stars Dermot Mulroney (as Mike Markkula, who supplied key funding for Apple’s startup), Josh Gad (Steve Wozniak), and Matthew Modine (John Scully).
Even though it’s likely to bring renewed attention to Walter Isaacson’s best selling bio, Steve Jobs (S&S), it is not based on it or any other book. At one time there were two Jobs biopics in development. Sony was working on an adaptation of the book, with Aaron Sorkin writing the script. No news has emerged about that project since Sorkin mentioned it briefly in January. Last week, he told Vanity Fair that he is at work on a Broadway play but made no mention of the film.
Isaacson’s book will be released in paperback on Sept. 9, nearly two years after the hardcover. It featured an image of the older Jobs, the paperback uses a photo of him as a young man, looking so much like Kutcher that some might confuse it for a tie-in.
In case you’ve had trouble imagining Michael Douglas as Liberace, below is a glimpse via the first trailer for HBO’s biopic about the entertainer, Behind the Candelabra.
Premiering on HBO on May 26th, it also stars Matt Damon as Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson. It is based on Thorson’s 1988 memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, which is being re-released by Tantor Audio in print, as well as audio and ebook on May 2.
The new pope is getting the Life pictorial treatment in Pope Francis: The Vicar of Christ, From Saint Peter to Today, (Hachette/Life). A paperback book/magazine edition appears on newsstands this week, with the hardcover releasing on April 16.
A book by the new Pope, previously published in Spanish in 2010, will be released in English on May 7. On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, (RH/Crown/Image Books) is a record of conversations between the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. According to the Random House press release, the two religious leaders address “such topics as God, fundamentalism, atheism, the Holocaust, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization.”
It will be released simultaneously in print, digital, large print and audio formats. The original Spanish-language version, Sobre el Cielo y la Terra will be published in North America in both trade paperback and eBook by RH/Vintage Espanol.
Also coming from the Image imprint of Random House is a book by Robert Moynihan, the founder of Inside the Vatican magazine, Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas.
Amazingly, a film about Unbroken‘s subject, Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days on a life raft in the Pacific during WWII, has been in the works for 55 years, long before Hillenbrand began working on her book. Universal bought Zamperini’s “life rights” in the 1950’s, with plans to star Tony Curtis.
The film is supposed to begin production next year.
Zamperini will be 96 years old in January.
Hillenbrand’s earlier book, Seabiscuit, (Random House, 2001), was made into a successful movie.
Patti Smith announces that she plans to publish a sequel to her best selling memoir and National Book Award winner, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010).
She tells Billboard that it will cover the same period as the first book, but with a different perspective. Just Kids focused on her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This one will focus more on her music and her late husband, Fred Smith, the MC 5 guitarist.
No title or release date has been announced.
Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham’s new book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, (Random House, RH Audio and BOT, RH Large Print) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is now at #2, and in the number of holds in libraries.
It has been reviewed widely (in both the daily NYT and the Sunday Book Review, as well as the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly) and debuted on the 12/2 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list at #2.
The author appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Last December, a biography of General David Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, by Paula Broadwell (Penguin, Jan. 23) made headlines because the author was regarded as implying that Petraeus nearly quit as the commander of troops in Afghanistan over Obama’s plans for a drawdown.
That inference was quickly denied. Several reports, including Fox News’, noted how adulatory the author was about her subject; “The book unapologetically casts Petraeus in the hero’s role” and Broadwell says “his critics fault him for ambition and self-promotion,” but “his energy, optimism and will to win stand out more for me.”
Jon Stewart speaks for many when he upbraids himself on last night’s show for missing the real story.
Big names in fiction returning next week include Barbara Kingsolver, Ellen Hopkins and Caleb Carr, along with notable novels by Lydia Millet, Whitney Otto and James Kimmel. The final volume of William Manchester‘s Churchill bio also arrives, written posthumously by Paul Reid, while Larry McMurtry weighs in on General Custer, Sean Carroll explores a new landmark in physics, and Oliver Sacks explores hallucinations.
Magnificence by Lydia Millet (Norton; Dreamscape Audio; Center Point Large Print) concludes the trilogy that began with How the Dead Dream (2008) and Ghost Lights (2011). This one is the story of a woman who comes to terms with her life and adulterous affairs when she suddenly becomes a widow. Kirkus says, “The deeply honest, beautiful meditations on love, grief and guilt give way to a curlicued comic-romantic mystery complete with a secret basement and assorted eccentrics.” The response on GalleyChat was unmitigated; “Magnificence was magnificent. What an amazing writer. Love her unsentimental style.”
Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike Large Print) fictionalizes the lives of eight women photographers as they intersect – including icons like Imogen Cunningham, Lee Miller and Sally Mann, as well as lesser known figures. By the author of How to Make an American Quilt, it was a BEA librarians’ Shout ‘n’ Share Pick. Kirkus says, “although overly schematic, Otto makes these eight women and the differing lenses through which they view the 20th century hard to forget.”
The Trial of Fallen Angels by James Kimmel, Jr. (Penguin/Amy Einhorn; Dreamscape Audio) is a debut novel about an ace lawyer who dies and becomes a defender of the souls of the dead on Judgement Day. Early reviews are mixed: Kirkus says it’s heavy on the spiritualism side, but still intriguing. PW says it fails as a page-turner, but Booklist gives it a starred review, calling it fascinating.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe) may be the first novel about the effects of climate change. It arrives with uncanny timing, the week after Hurricane Sandy. In this instance, the evidence is dramatic but not devastating. A vast flock of monarch butterflies descends on a Bible Belt community in what seems like a religious miracle, but turns out to be a more disquieting displacement. It’s a People Pick in the magazine this week, with 4 of 4 stars. Says the reviewer, Kingsolver, “brings the complexities of climate change to her characters’ doorstep, illustrating with rich compassion how they … must find their new place on shifting ground.” The author’s previous, The Lacuna, was a best seller and won the Orange Prize.
Collateral by Ellen Hopkins (S&S; Atria) is the second adult novel by this YA author, about two best friends and the military men they love, and are separated from, written in the author’s signature poetic verse style. PW says, ” clear narrative that is uplifting and heartbreaking, but also familiar and a little too easy, featuring characters grappling with the serious issues of our time.”
The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr (Random House; S&S Audio) finds the author of the Alienist turning his sights on the medieval era, where invaders and internal tensions roil a fortress. LJ has a wait-and-see attitude toward this one’s commercial prospects.
Infinity Ring Book 2: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan (Scholastic) is the second in a middle grade series about two fifth-grader geniuses who live in an alternate universe and travel back in time to fix various “breaks” in history. Like the 39-Clues, this planned seven-volume series, with six authors, was devised in-house at Scholastic and comes with links to an interactive Web Site. The titles will be released in quick succession, with this one arriving just three months after the first, Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny in Time, by the Maze Runner’s James Dashner. Rick Riordan, who wrote the prototype, 39-Clues, was given the unenviable task of reviewing Book 1 for the the NYT Book Review. His reaction was mixed, concluding that it is, “vivid, intriguing, not fully realized but hinting at a larger story that feels right.” This second volume is by the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Kirkus, the only source to review it so far, doesn’t buy it, saying, “It’s hard to go wrong with Vikings. But if you asked a classroom full of students to write about a Viking and a time machine, most of them would come up with something more inventive.”
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio) is the final volume in this biographical trilogy. The New York Times Magazine heralds it this Sunday by calling its release, “one of the longest waits in publishing history” and explains how the little-known Paul Reid, who had never written a book before, ended up tackling this project, based on Manchester’s sketchy and often illegible notes. It ended up taking so long that Reid was forced to sell his house, use up his savings and live on credit cards. It may have been worth it. Says the NYT Magazine, it is “more of a stand-alone book than a continuation of the first and second volumes.” PW says it “matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris.” 200,000 copies.
Custer by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster) is not quite a biography, more of an “informed commentary” on one of American history’s great military blunderers by this respected novelist, according to Kirkus, which also calls it “distilled perceptions of a lifetime of study, beautifully illustrated.” USA Today puts it simply, “This ‘Custer’ cuts through all the Bull.”
The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by Sean Carroll (RH/Dutton) is the story of how science history was made with the search for the Higgs Boson, part of the Higgs field that gives atomic particles their mass – finally discovered earlier this year. PW says, “whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carrollas clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts.” UPDATE: We jumped the gun; this title is actually coming out on Nov. 13.
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT Audio) finds this bestselling neurologist revealing that hallucinations are actually normal aspects of human experience during illness or injury, intoxication or sensory deprivation, or simply falling asleep. Kirkus says, “A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.”
The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) by J.R.R. Tolkien (HMH/Mariner trade pbk; RH/Del Rey mass market) are the tie-in editions of the novel. Also coming are various behind-the scenes books for both adults and children. For the full list, check our Upcoming Movies with Tie-ins).
Jack Reacher’s Rules, with introduction by Lee Child (RH/Delacorte) is a 160-page hardcover compilation of Reacher wisdom and lore; a single quote printed on each page. It arrives, as the publisher puts it, “just in time for [Reacher’s] first movie,” starring Tom Cruise, which lands in theaters on 12/21. It was a drop-in title that hasn’t been reviewed and thus, most libraries have not ordered it. Those that have it are showing holds (Hennepin County has 50 on 9 copies). The tie-in of One Shot, which the movie is based on, also arrives next week, in both mass market and large print.
As media attention on the election heats up, publishers are playing it safe with no-brainers, like the Rolling Stones 50, a tribute to the decades-old British rock band, and a home design book by talk show host Nate Berkus, or review-driven titles like historian Henry Wiencek’s new look at Thomas Jefferson and his slaves. In fiction, Justin Cronin‘s followup to his blockbuster post-apocalyptic vampire novel is eagerly awaited, but is already disappointing a few reviewers. A title to watch is a cozy English novel about the Queen playing hooky. Usual suspects include Nelson DeMille, Iris Johansen, Patricia Cornwell and YA author P.C. Cast. Plus movie tie-ins to Twilight, Silver Linings and Spielberg’s Lincoln.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (HarperCollins; Dreamscape Audio) finds the bored Queen of England leaving the palace on a walkabout, in search of fun. It has been popular among librarians on our GalleyChat on Twitter, one of whom said, “It’s jam packed full with great Palace insider gossip and details. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee, royal watchers will eat this up! It’s fun and light.”
The Twelve by Justin Cronin (RH/Ballantine; BOT Audio; Wheeler Large Print) is the second installment in the trilogy that began with the hit The Passage, a post-apocalyptic vampire novel by an author previously known for his quiet literary novels. This one is getting early press attention, including a profile in last week’s NYT Magazine. The L.A. Times warns, however, “even the most devoted fans may notice a bit of a sophomore slump.” The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, says the previous title was “the scariest, most entertaining novel I’d read in a long time…Now, finally, comes the long-awaited second volume, and as much as it pains me to say it, The Twelve bites.” Entertainment Weekly is more generous, giving it a B+, even though it “doesn’t always match The Passage‘s dexterous storytelling and almost-plausible world creation…it’s still an unnerving and mostly satisfying tale of existential-threat disaster and its harrowing aftermath.”
The Panther by Nelson DeMille (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) finds Former NYPD detective John Corey and his FBI agent wife, Kate Mayfield, hunting a mastermind of the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Kirkus calls it, “quintessential DeMille: action-adventure flavored with double-dealing and covert conspiracy.”
Sleep No More by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike Large Print) is the 14th Eve Duncan novel. This time the forensic sculptor, who has spent many novels investigating the disappearance of her daughter, discovers that she has a half-sister. PW says, “Series fans will be pleased to discover that Beth, like Eve, is a strong woman who has endured many trials in her past.”
The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds forensic expert Kay Scarpetta digging into a case involving a missing paleontologist. LJ says, “Cornwell has been struggling lately; see what happens, and buy for her fans.”
Angel’s Ink: The Asylum Tales (Harper Voyager trade pbk original) marks the launch of The Asylum Tales, a new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Days novels. This one features a magical tattoo artist. An ebook-only short story (available on OverDrive), The Asylum Interviews: Trixie came out in September to whet appetites.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (S&S/Atria) has been big on GalleyChat. Some think it’s her best; “Family secrets, suspense. Another winner.” This week’s People magazine concurs, giving it 4 of 4 stars and saying,”Morton weaves an intriguing mystery, shifting between past and present and among fully realized characters harboring deep secrets.”
The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (Hyperion) commemorates the band’s long history and survival in photos. Kirkus says it’s a “soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.”
Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (Macmillan/FSG ; HighBridge Audio) is the latest from the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. Here, Wiencek “deftly explores the economic calculus behind Jefferson’s gradual cooling toward emancipation and eventual acceptance of human capital as a great ‘investment opportunity,” according to LJ.
The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus (Speigel & Grau) is an illustrated guide to creating a home full of meaningful things, by the designer who got a push from Oprah and now has his own talk show.
The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive: Memories, Mementos, and Other Treasures from the Creative Team Behind the Beloved Motion Pictures ties into the November 16 release of (can you believe it?) the the last installment in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Part 2.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton Books) ties in to the movie to be released on November 21, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. It won the top prize at the Toronto Interntional Film Festival.
Team of Rivals; Lincoln Film Tie-in Edition by Doris Kearns Goodwin (S&S trade paperback; S&S audio tie-in) ties in to Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis. It opens in a limited run on November 9, releasing nationwide on November 16, and is based on the later sections of Team of Rivals.
The excitement in the upcoming week is in nonfiction, starting with a new collection of Beatle John Lennon‘s private letters, a new Barbra Streisand bio by William J. Mann, and a biography of photographer Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan, along with a YA adaptation of Navy Seal Eric Greitens‘s bestselling memoir. Usual suspects include James Patterson (with Marshall Karp), Robert K. Morgan and the man known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature,” R L Stein, delivers his first adult horror novel (thanks for the correction; this is actually his second book for adults, after his 1995 title, Superstitious).
The John Lennon Letters by John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) collects the beloved Beatles private letters to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life, with annotations by Hunter Davies, author of the authorized biography The Beatles (1968).
Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Thorndike Large Print) focuses on the singer’s breakthrough years in the Sixties, when she starred in Funny Girl on Broadway and recorded three platinum albums. PW says, “Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.”
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Dreamscape Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer’s account of 19th C portrait photographer Edward Curtis, who gave up a thriving career to chronicle more than 80 Native American tribes before their way of life disappeared. The result was Curtis’s classic 20-volume set, The North American Indian, which took 30 years to complete and left him divorced and destitute. Kirkus says, “Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.”
Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Prescence by Sarah Young (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson) is the second book from the missionary and breakout author of Jesus Calling.
There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) blends political analysis, history, and personal reminiscences of the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 in a coming of age memoir. The author best known for the novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold ten million copies worldwide since 1958. Kirkus says, “a powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.”
Nonfiction – Young Adult
The Warrior’s Heart by Eric Greitens (HMH Young Readers) adapts the author’s bestseller The Heart and the Fist for teen readers, focusing on the youthful adventures that led him to become a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL. Kirkus says Greitens retraces his coming of age “with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement,” and says it’s “as thought provoking as it is entertaining.”
NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Hachette/Little, Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) finds the NYPD on high alert when a deranged killer strikes a series of red carpet celebrity events.
Red Rain by R L Stein (S&S/Touchstone; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the
first second adult horror novel by the bestselling author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series, involving a hurricane and psychopath. PW says it “fails to compel.”
Believe it or not, J.K. Rowling‘s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, is not the only book going on sale next week, though it will surely get a lion’s share of media attention. The other lion of the week is rocker Neil Young, who delivers his first memoir. Other noteworthy nonfiction includes a compilation of President John F. Kennedy’s audio tapes and transcripts, put together by the John F. Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer. In adult fiction, there’s a debut novel from popular memoirist J.R. Moehringer, and a BEA Buzz panel pick by Antoine Wilson. Usual suspects include Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall and Deepak Chopra – and in YA fiction, there’s a mystery from adult author Francine Prose.
EMBARGOED: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little Brown; Hachette Audio) comes with a big question: does J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults have a fair chance at success, given the wildly outsized expectations that come with being the author of the Harry Potter series? Her first and only U.S. interview about the book will be on September 26, on ABC’s Good Morning America (7:00-9:00 AM), World News with Diane Sawyer (6:30 PM), and Nightline (11:35 PM-12:00 AM), and will re-air on Good Morning America on September 27.
Sutton by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion; Hyperion Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about the bank robber and folk hero Willie “The Actor” Sutton, by the author of the popular memoir The Tender Bar. It begins in 1969, after Sutton’s release from Attica prison at age 68, as he looks back on stealing more than $2 million over 40 years (often in costume) and his three impressive prison breaks. Entertainment Weekly‘s review begins, “There’s a quality to J.R. Moehringer’s writing that makes you feel you aren’t stepping into a book so much as a dimly lit but welcoming bar…He brings a raconteur’s grace and rhythm to his first novel.” The reviewer admits that the ending is unsatisfying, “But isn’t closing time always a bit of a letdown when you don’t want an entertaining night to end?”
Panorama City by Antoine Wilson (HMH; Blackstone Audio) was a BEA Editors Buzz Panel pick about a self-described “slow-learner” recovering from a traumatic accident, who composes a letter about what it takes to be “a man of the world” to his unborn son and pregnant wife. Booklist says, “Readers who enjoy Mark Haddon and Greg Olear will appreciate Wilson’s authorial voice, which blends Oppen’s good-natured naiveté and humorous asides with incisive cynicism.”
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F. G. Haghenbeck (S&S/Atria) is a fictional biography of the beloved Mexican painter’s life, chronic illness and many loves, based on Kahlo’s unpublished notebooks, including actual recipes tied to her most important moments and relationships. Kirkus says, “despite the repetitiousness and pretentious hyperbola that drags on this novel, Kahlo remains a rich character and inevitably irresistible.”
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (S&S/Gallery; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) follows two grieving mothers who meet by chance in Nantucket, and help each other heal and move on. Kirkus says, “There’s a point in the narrative where one of the characters becomes so engrossed in reading a book that she loses track of time. Readers of Genova’s latest excellent offering might very well find the same happening to them.”
God: A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra (HarperOne) is a “teaching novel” by the popular author of Jesus and Buddha, that aims for a better understanding of God by profiling 10 historical figures: Job, Socrates, St. Paul, Shankara, Rumi, Julian of Norwich, Giordano Bruno, Anne Hutchinson, Baal Shem Tov and Rabindranath Tagore. Kirkus says, “Of particular interest are the humorous, humble Baal Shem, the brilliant, witty Shankara and the visionary Julian, a man Chopra calls ‘the most touching figure in this book’.”
Confessions of a Murder Suspect by Maxine Paetro and James Patterson (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) begins a new teen mystery series from the team behind the Women’s Murder Club series for adults. PW is not impressed: “The intriguing setup loses cohesion… For writers with their crime-writing experience, Patterson and Paetro show little interest in common sense, motivation, or believable storytelling.”
The Turning by Francine Prose (Harper Teen) is the story of a teen who takes on a spooky summer job caring for two orphans on a remote island, inspired by Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. PW says, “Remaining true to the ambiguous nature of the original, Prose (Touch) masterfully builds suspense. Like Adele Griffin’s Tighter (2011), this spin on the classic tale is an enticing blend of gothic elements and psychological complexities.”
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is the story of a 15 year-old whose parents take away his role-playing game guides and send him to camp to get socialized by the author of It’s a Funny Story. Kirkus says, ” Though the world building is thin at times, there are some moments of genuine pathos and terror, with the final climactic fight scene leaving plenty of room for sequels. Great geeky fun.”
Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, selected and with introduction by Ted Widmer, foreword by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion) makes available for the first time selections from the 256 hours of JFK’s presidential conversations that were taped on hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room. It includes two 75-minute CDs and covers decisions related to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam, and the arms race, compiled by John F. Kennedy Library and historian Widmer.
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young (Penguin/Blue Rider; Penguin Audiobooks) is a memoir by the iconic rocker, whose career spans 50 years, from playing with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, & Nash to Crazy Horse and becoming the “godfather of grunge.”
One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season by Tony La Russa (Harper/ Morrow; HarperLuxe) is the story of the St. Louis Cardinals unusual end-of-season run and victory in the 2011 World Series, by their manager.
The Chew: Food. Life. Fun. by The Chew with contributions from Mario Batali, Gordon Elliott, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz and Michael Symon (Hyperion) is a companion cookbook to The Chew, a daytime show on ABC-TV.
Safari: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen, text by Carol Kaufmann (Workman) recreates a Kenyan safari featuring eight animals portrayed with a new technology that resembles a 3-D movie on the page, in the next leap after the publisher’s best selling Gallop.
Killing Them Softly (Cogan’s Trade Movie Tie-In Edition) by George V. Higgins (RH/Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) ties in to the movie starring Brad Pitt from the Weinstein Company, which was recently rescheduled to the end of November, to move it into consideration for an Oscar. (Deadline, 9/11/12)
Remember when there were two movies about writer Truman Capote, one of them with Toby Jones in the lead role?
We will soon be treated to two movies about director Alfred Hitchcock, one of them with Toby Jones in the lead role. Both are based on books.
The Girl, which airs on HBO on October 20th, is about Hitchcock’s relationship with Tippi Hedren, the star of The Birds. Sienna Miller plays Hedren and Toby Jones, the driector. It is based on Donald Spoto’s Spellbound By Beauty (RH/Three Rivers), which examines Hitchcock’s obsessive fascination with all his leading ladies.
Anthony Hopkins has the lead in the theatrical film, Hitchcock, based on the 1990 book, Hitchcock!: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, being re-released in January by Soft Skull Press. Helen Mirren plays Hitchcock’s wife, Alma with Scarlett Johansson as Psycho‘s star, Janet Leigh. No U.S. release date has been set. Earlier this summer, the Daily Mail published side-by-side shots of the stars on set and their real-life counterparts.
In addition, Bates Motel, a prequel to Psycho is in production for an A&E TV series. It was just announced that Vera Farmiga will play the creepy mother of young Norman Bates. Pscyho itself was based on a 1959 horror novel by Robert Bloch, which was re-released in 2010 by Overlook Press.
Sales of Joe Posnanski‘s biography of disgraced Penn State Coach, Paterno (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) are off to a slow start at the Penn State bookstore, claims USA Today, noting that a shelf of the books appears untouched. However, the manager says they’ve sold 30 to 40 copies, a respectable number for a single location, even though USA Today calls it “lukewarm.” The book is currently at #11 on Amazon’s sales rankings, its highest point to date.
The NYT review makes it sound less than revelatory, saying it’s “breezy and largely sympathetic. It doesn’t contain (reverse spoiler alert) any especially startling revelations about what Paterno knew and when he knew it. It adds grain and texture to the historical record, though, while mostly skimming the surface of its subject’s life,” but says, “The book’s best chapter, and the one many people will turn to first, is titled simply ‘Sandusky.’ ”
Libraries are showing modest holds.
The author appeared on the Today Show yesterday.
Now officially a best seller, Dearie, Bob Sptiz’s bio of Julia Child debuts on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #5, during the week that marks the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.
Child’s landmark book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also receives a boost this week, rising to #40 on Amazon sales rankings. Few would have anticipated this continued success fifty years ago, certainly not the publishers, Alfred A. and Blanche Knopf, who prided themselves on publishing “important” books. Cookbooks were not considered important and those they did publish could be out of step with the times. Spitz writes that the recipes in an earlier Knopf French cookbook served a surprisingly large quantity of people. When asked why, the author responded that one had to feed the help.
But Child’s book came along at the perfect time. As Spitz points out, American women were being exhorted to use convenience foods, turning the kitchen into a factory assembly line. Julia appealed to women’s desire to reach for something more.
A first edition of the book that was published so reluctantly is currently offered for sale on AbeBooks.com for $6,500. Mastering the Art of French Cooking , as well as Child’s other titles, have become staples on the Knopf list.