Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

A Literary Tribute

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

moveable_feastErnest Hemingway’s memoir of his time in Paris, A Moveable Feast, is fast becoming a testimony to the city he loved and is being used, along with flowers and candles, as both a token of mourning and as a symbol of defiance in the face of terrorism.

The memoir’s title in French is Paris est une fete — or “Paris is a party.” NPR reports that the memoir is being used as a memorial on the one week anniversary of the recent terrorist attacks, because it celebrates “Paris as an exciting place of ideas, a nexus of people who love life and the arts. The book is set in the 1920s, as Paris recovered from the oppressions of World War I.”

It is flying off the shelves in bookstores in Paris and, according to Bloomberg Business, is “the fastest-selling biography and foreign-language book at online retailer Daily orders of the memoir … have risen 50-fold to 500 since Monday, according to publisher Folio.”

Closer to home, US readers are following suit, checking out the book in sufficient quantities that a small holds list is growing in many libraries we checked.

To support readers’ needs to mark the tragedy and re-discover a city and country unmarred by terror, librarians are putting together multi-media displays on Paris, including audiobooks and film, as Katie McLain, Reference Assistant at the Waukegan Public Library, shared in the most recent CODES Conversations hosted by the Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee of RUSA/CODES (see the searchable archive on the sign-up page).

ME BEFORE YOU Release Date Moves, Again

Friday, November 20th, 2015

9780670026609-1Fans of Jojo Moyes can celebrate. The release date for the film adaptation of her novel Me Before You (Penguin/Pamela Dorman) is being moved –  once again.

This time, however, the film sill arrive in theaters earlier than expected, on March 4 rather than the previously announced June 3.

Deadline reports the change is designed to “hook women, particularly those off from college and high school on spring break.”

Starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games), it is directed by Thea Sharrock. This will be her first feature film, after directing the BBC miniseries The Hollow Crown and Call The Midwife. Moyes wrote the screenplay.

As we wrote in May, this is the not the first release date adjustment for the film. The June 3 date was major delay from its original Aug. 21, 2015 release date.

According to Deadline, the move puts the film into direct competition with several other anticipated movies, including Tina Fey’s untitled war comedy based on Kim Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan (in her review of this “darkly funny” war reporter’s memoir, the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani presciently called the author a “sort of Tina Fey character, who unexpectedly finds herself addicted to the adrenaline rush of war.”)

A movie-tie in edition of Me Before You is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2016:

Me Before You: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) by Jojo Moyes
Penguin Books
On Sale Date: January 26, 2016
ISBN 9780143109464
$16.00 USD, $21.00 CAD

Holds Alert: DEAR MR. YOU

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

9781501107832_b8888Mary-Louise Parker’s debut, Dear Mr. You (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio), a memoir in letters addressed to the men of her life, is generating large hold queues, with some libraries we checked spiking as high as 8:1.

No surprise,Parker has been getting a great deal of media attention. From a New York Time’s profile to a glowing review in both that paper and on NPR, under the headline “Dear Mary-Louise Parker, You’ve Written A Great Book.”

In the NYT’s review Janet Maslin wrote:

“The book is written in a smart, beguiling voice that is inextricably entwined with qualities that Ms. Parker radiates as an actress. There’s as much flintiness as reckless charm. Flirtation and mischief are big parts of her arsenal. So is the honest soul-searching that gives this slight-looking book much more heft than might be expected.”

We highlighted it in Books to Know and Recommend the week before last and it is a November Indie Next Pick and a LibraryReads selection:

“Parker has created a unique and poetic memoir through a series of letters–some of appreciation, some of apology, some simply of acknowledgement–to the men in her life. Ranging from a taxi driver to a grandfather she never knew, each man has left an imprint and shaped her into the person she has become. Full of feeling, growth, and self-discovery, Parker’s book has left me longing to write my own letters.”
 PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC.

Closer to Screen:

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

glassDescribed as an “instant classic,” Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir The Glass Castle,(S&S/Scribner), tells the amazing story of her childhood with dysfunctional, sometimes homeless  parents. In 2012, it was set to be adapted as a film starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Plans have changed and now Brie Larson is in talks to star, as is Woody Harrelson, reports Deadline. Larson is currently enjoying Oscar buzz for her star role in another book adaptation, Room (she was interviewed about it on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday).

Glass Castle‘s Director Daniel Cretton has worked with her before, on the well-received movie Short Term 12.

Carrie Brownstein Taking Off

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

9781594486630_a351bWe featured Portlandia star and Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s new memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir (Penguin/Riverhead Books; Penguin Audio and BOT) on last week’s look ahead.

Since then Brownstein has captured reader interest in back-to-back appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

On the strength of both performances her story has risen to #26 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Perhaps some of the attention is due to her quirky set-piece for Colbert where she sings a somber song:


the Dogs and More

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Yesterday was a three-book extravaganza for CBS’s venerable Sunday Morning magazine show.

9781579656713_1a0abThe Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman (Workman/Artisan) was featured in a charming and smile-inducing report, sending the book racing up the Amazon sales charts where it is currently occupying the #62 spot.

The book is based on Friedman’s blog and Instagram accounts of the same name, which have done for dogs what Humans of New York and The Sartorialist have done for people and fashion. In the process Friedman has gathered over a million followers.

CBS posted a photo gallery in addition to the video segment.

9781250065919_b0b65 9780399167256_d72dfAlso featured were Erica Jong, whose new book Fear of Dying (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) rose to #148 on the Amazon chart as a result, and singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, for his new memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (PRH/Blue Rider Press; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) who comes to CBS fresh off of his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week.

Scientology Tell-All

Friday, October 16th, 2015

9781101886960_28aaaAnticipation is building for Leah Remini’s upcoming tell-all about her experiences with the Church of Scientology, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology (RH/Ballantine). Best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on the CBS show King of Queens, and currently the star of TLC’s reality show, It’s All RelativeRemini left the Church after being a member for 30 years.

Lawrence Wright wrote a best selling account of the Church in 2013, Going Clear, the basis for this year’s award-winning HBO documentary of the same name, but Remini, who Vanity Fair describing her as “a well-connected Hollywood player” predicts she will have juicer stories, “until either Katie Holmes or Nicole Kidman [both women were married to Tom Cruise, who is deeply involved in the church] put pen to paper, this sounds like the closest we’ll get to exploring the Hollywood side of Scientology.”

People and Redbook have reported on the upcoming book, as have the tabloids. ABC’s 20/20 will do an hour-long interview with Remini on October 30, before the book’s release the following Tuesday. She will also be featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as dozens of other shows. Even Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz will get in on the action.

Holds are starting to grow at libraries we checked.

THE SHIFT on Fresh Air

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

9781616203207_75ba0Palliative care nurse (and former English professor) Theresa Brown talked with Terry Gross yesterday on NPR, discussing her new book tracing the fates of four patients over 12 hours in a cancer ward.

The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives (Workman/Algonquin) is a moving and riveting medical account of struggle, hope, fear, and the daily demands of nursing.

Holds are heavy in some libraries and the book is on the verge of breaking into Amazon’s top 100.

Brown previously worked in a hospital’s oncology unit but now spends her time in home-based hospice care. Her first book, Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between (Harper) was highly regarded and has been adopted as a textbook in nursing schools.

Brown and Gross discuss the challenges of nursing, the stress of time and work pressures that cost patients the care they need, the desire for honesty in diagnosis, and the experience of home care.

TRUTH, The Trailer

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Based on the memoir by 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power,  the movie Truth tells the story of the news team reporting on allegations that then President George Bush had avoided military service. It was later proved that the story was based on faulty documents. Those involved were fired and CBS News anchor Dan Rather stepped down.

The movie stars Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mapes. The trailer was just released for the movie that opens in a limited number of theaters on Oct. 16, followed by a wider release.

Rather himself endorsed the movie earlier this month at the Toronto Film Festival.


Truth : The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power
Mary Mapes

Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin
Trade pbk; October 13, 2015

JUST KIDS To Showtime

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.18.09 PMShowtime has bought the rights to adapt Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010) as a limited series. reports Deadline.

Along with John Logan (Penny Dreadful), Smith will both write the screenplay and produce the series.

Just Kids recieved rave reviews and won the National Book Award Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.14.54 PMfor Nonfiction. It chronicles Smith’s friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their creative lives as young artists.

M Train (RH/Knopf; BOT), Smith’s next memoir, is coming out on Oct. 6th.

Carly Simon’s Memoir Coming November 24th

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 9.24.09 AMCarly Simon, perhaps most famous for the song You’re So Vain, is the daughter of one of the founders of Simon & Schuster.

She finally makes a foray into the family business (although not with the family company), with her first book, a memoir entitled Boys in the Trees (Macmillan/Flatiron; 9781250095893; Nov. 24). UPDATE: as one of our astute commenters notes, this is not Simon’s first time publishing. She has written children’s book.

While speculation is circling whether Simon will reveal the subject of her iconic song, neither the publisher nor the singer is saying right now.

Simon does share the scope of her book, however, in a widely quoted statement picked up by Entertainment Weekly, People, and the LA Times: “This book is my way of going back through my childhood, my music, my romances, my marriage … and trying to make sense of it all…I’ve been working on it for so long that it feels like my third child … but now it’s time to send that child out in the world.  It’s one of the most frightening — and exciting — things I’ve ever done.”

Boys in the Trees is due November 24th and joins other popular musician memoirs like Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Keith Richard’s Life. Smith’s new memoir, M Train (RH/Knopf; RH Audio) hits shelves on Oct 6th.

Authors on This Week’s

Monday, July 20th, 2015

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returns from hiatus this week, with two authors deeply concerned with the issues of race in America.

Tomorrow night’s guest is an author who has appeared on the show seven times, but hasn’t published a book since 2007 (Dreams from My Father), Barack Obama, His last appearance on the show was just before his 2012 re-election when he had to endure a ribbing by Stewart about a poor showing in one of the debates.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesOn Thursday, Stewart will interview Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau).

On Friday, the Washington Post explained why so many columnists are calling his book a “must-read.”

Holds are building quickly in many libraries.


Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

9780812993547_8923cBreaking through the chatter of Watchman, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s history of America and racism is moving up the Amazon charts and collecting long holds queues.

As we reported last week, Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) is getting media attention. Holds are well over 3:1 in many locations and at least one library has ordered extra copies to support book discussion groups.

Expect demand to continue, building on Coates’s appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and an upcoming appearance on the Daily Show next week.

Not only a touchstone book of the moment, it is a title that is likely to be a Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.32.32 AMcore work in the subject for years to come. Blurbed by Toni Morrision as “required reading,” you will not lose out by adding copies.

Coates’s first book, a memoir entitled The Beautiful Struggle (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample, 2009), is also rising on Amazon and holds are growing.

Hold Alert: Michael Oren’s ALLY

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 6.25.27 PMIsrael’s former ambassador to the United States and current Knesset member, Michael B. Oren’s memoir,  Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (Random House; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review and is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Holds are increasing as well. Several libraries that bought it lightly adding copies.

The book, a behind-the-scenes account of serving as ambassador and the fraught relationship between President Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister, is getting widely divergent responses.

Writing for the New York Post, John Podhoretz, editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, says “I’m not sure that in the annals of diplomatic history there’s ever been anything quite like this astonishing account of Oren’s four years (2009-2013) as Israel’s ambassador in Washington.”

While calling it “remarkably frank,” Jacob Heilbrunn, reviewing for this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review says “it’s difficult to avoid the impression that Oren continues to carry a large chip on his shoulder … [he is] stuck in a time warp.”


Thursday, June 25th, 2015

9780812986181_0d2c5Orange is the New Black, season three, debuted on Netflix two weeks ago, moving the memoir  by Piper Kerman it is based on (RH/Spiegel & Grau) back onto best seller lists.

The series is known for bringing attention to other books as well. Entertainment Weekly points out that the new season is a bit lighter on specific titles (all the books in the prison library are burned after a bed bug is discovered in a copy of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH).

But there’s plenty of titles to mine from previous series for a book display.

Season Two Reading List

Season One (BuzzFeed)

The series has been renewed for a fourth season.