Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

Sagal’s GRACE NOTES

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

9781476796710_891d2Katey Sagal, the actress famous for her roles on Married with Children and Sons of Anarchy, for which she won a Golden Globe, appeared today on Good Morning America to talk about her new memoir, Grace Notes: My Recollections (S&S/Gallery; OverDrive Sample).

Host Michael Strahan notes that Segal reveals personal details in the book, being frank about her past addictions and life in recovery. Sagal says she began the book as a way to share her life and past history with her children and saw the project as a love letter to her family.

She also talks about her time as a singer and song writer. Expressing surprised at this bit of her history, Strahan marvels that she “opened for Etta James, sang background for Bette Midler, and got fired by Bob Dylan.” She still has a band and says music is a big part of her life.

Sagal as been on a media blitz for the book, already appearing on Nightline and featured in the March 27 issue of People. She will be on The View tomorrow. The book made USA Today‘s list of “New and noteworthy” booksPage Six and the NY Daily News covered some of the book’s revelations. The book has moved up Amazon’s sales rankings as a result and is currently at #518.

Media Magnet: THE RULES DO NOT APPLY

Monday, March 27th, 2017

9780812996937_03b5cHolds are growing for Ariel Levy’s attention-getting memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply (PRH/Random; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Levy, a staff writer at the New Yorker, is getting attention from a wide range of media. The NYT highlights the author in a lengthy feature story detailing Levy’s take on what the paper calls her “karmic smackdown” of how she went from pregnant and married to a woman grieving the loss of her baby and watching her marriage dissolve:

“Ms. Levy wanted to interrogate her own responsibility for such a sequence of grim events … That is the intellectual backbone [of the memoir, one that examines the] hoary conceit, the one about women and ‘having it all’ … A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements … seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent — even Portlandia.”

Blurbed by some big names, including Lena Dunham, Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Amy Bloom, and Alison Bechtel, it is reviewed by a range of outlets including Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, O magazine, and Time. Levy was also interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

The Atlantic says it is a “one-of-a-kind memoir” and that “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”

It is also stirring controversy. The New Republic calls it “Infuriating … a monument to obliviousness” and says it “buys into the myth that feminism promises each woman that she can have whatever she wants … It’s unlikely many Black women or Arab women or undocumented women would presume a similar degree of permission and mobility, regardless of their exposure to Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.”

It is climbing the Amazon rankings, currently at #136, and a few systems we checked are showing holds above 6:1.

The Obama Book Deals Land

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

As expected, both Obamas will publish books now that they have left office. Penguin Random House (PRH) won the bidding war for worldwide rights to their books.

In the brief press release announcing the deal, the publisher did not give details on what the books will cover, but the Associated Press reports that,  “A publishing official with knowledge of the negotiations said that Barack Obama’s book will be a straightforward memoir about his presidency, while Michelle Obama plans to write an inspirational work for young people that will draw upon her life story.” CNN reports the books are projected to be released in 2018.

The NYT reports the heated race to win publishing rights “probably stretched well into eight figures … the opening offers for Mr. Obama’s book alone were in the $18 million to $20 million range.” The Guardian says the deal is a “record sum for US presidential memoirs … By comparison, fellow Democrat and former president Bill Clinton earned $15m for rights to his 2004 memoir My Life after he left office … Republican George W Bush, reaped some $10m from his 2010 book Decision Points.”

It has not been announced which of the many PRH imprints will publish the books. The NYT says that it is likely that two imprints will be involved, to help share the cost of the large advance each Obama will receive.

9780307956026_06d7f9780307237699Crown published the previous books by the Obamas, including Mrs. Obama’s book about the White House garden and both of Mr. Obama’s memoirs, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

The NYT notes “a postpresidential memoir has even greater potential to be a critical and commercial hit. Mr. Obama kept a journal during his time in office, which suggests his memoir could include behind-the-scenes moments that were captured as major events unfolded … frank discussion of his time in the White House, and of issues like race relations in America, could reach an even wider audience, becoming a worldwide blockbuster.”

According to the press release, as part of the deal, PRH will donate one million books in the Obama family’s name to two nonprofits providing access to reading materials for children and the Obamas will donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including to the Obama Foundation.

“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama,” Markus Dohle, the chief executive of Penguin Random House, said in a statement. “With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance.”

Holds Alert: A MAN FOR ALL MARKETS

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

9781400067961_c8751A memoir from a MIT mathematician who beat the casinos at their own game is building reserve lists in libraries and climbing Amazon’s sales rankings, moving from #424 to within the Top 100.

A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market, Edward O. Thorp (PRH/Random House; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) recounts Throp’s life in finance, distilling advice as well as mob-tinged tales.

The Wall Street Journal says the memoir “delightfully recounts his progress (if that is the word) from college teacher to gambler to hedge-fund manager. Along the way we learn important lessons about the functioning of markets and the logic of investment.”

Thorp, says the New York Post, invented the art of card counting, and incurred the wrath of the casino industry, so successfully that he was targeted for harm when he proved he could beat the house at blackjack. His 1962 guide, Beat the Dealer, sold over a million copies and is still in print.

After his careers in academia and the casinos, Thorp started hedge funds and tangled with Rudy Giuliani, who at the time was the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Thorp prevailed and continued his successful career making money. 

Holds range from almost 5:1 to 47:1 on modest ordering in systems we checked.

Writer Carrie Fisher Dies

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

9780399173592_8cf50She may be remembered by many as Princess Leia in Star Wars but Carrie Fisher, who died at 60 on Tuesday, was also known for the sharp writing, raw honesty, and biting humor in her four novels and three memoirs, all of which are still in print.

Her first books were heavily autobiographical novels, Postcards From the Edge (1987),  Surrender the Pink (1990),  Delusions of Grandma (1993), and The Best Awful (2004; S&S Audio) (all from S&S).

But she found her true calling in memoirs, beginning with Wishful Drinking (2008; S&S Audio; Ocvr9781439153710_9781439153710_hrverDrive Sample). As Entertainment Weekly observed of that book, “Fisher’s voice is freer, now that she’s no longer hiding behind the coy scrim of calling her perky howls of pain ‘novels’ … Her stories bubble, bounce, and careen with an energy as loose as the jauntiness in The Best Awful was tight.”

Wishful Drinking was adapted from Fisher’s one-woman stage show, which also became the 2010 HBO documentary. UPDATE: HBO will re-air the show on Jan 1 at 9 pm ET.

postcards-from-the-edge-9781439194003_hrShe died after returning from a trip to London to promote her most recent book, The Princess Diarist (PRH/Blue Rider Press; Penguin/BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It garnered headlines for revealing what many had already suspected, that she and Harrison Ford had an affair during the filming of Star Wars, but it also received positive reviewsThe Guardian wrote that it is “smart and funny. The pages crackle with self-deprecating one-liners, chatty observations and the singular wisdom that comes with being forever immortalised in the minds of teenage boys in a metal bikini and chained to a slug.”

The Princess Diarist is currently #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings, with Wishful Drinking at #7. Postcards From the Edge is right behind it at #8.

Libraries are also seeing demand with holds skyrocketing, passing 15:1 ratios on titles that have been weeded down to just a few copies, such as Postcards From the Edge. Libraries own more copies of the most recent book, The Princess Diarist. Nevertheless, it is showing strong holds, topping a 6:1 ratio at several libraries we checked.

Picking Up the Pieces

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

9781455595747_ecfc1Country music star Naomi Judd just released a memoir about her treatment-resistant depression, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope (Hachette/Center Street; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

As a result of dual appearances on ABC, it  is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping to #138.

Good Morning America featured the singer in a taped conversation with host Robin Roberts. Nightline offered a more extended conversation.

Roberts says Judd’s book is a “powerful” and “inspiring” story. According to Judd, she was in an “extreme situation,” in psychiatric wards and on heavy doses of medication. She also recounts the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, saying “nobody was there for me … I had to parent myself.”

Estranged from daughter Wynonna, Naomi says she made a lot of mistakes with her and they need a break from each other. She copes with her illness now by practicing “radical acceptance.”

GMA:

Nightline:

The Boss on CBS SUNDAY MORNING

Monday, September 19th, 2016

9781501141515_b00fcBruce Springsteen was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning in a is wide-ranging conversation that opens with Anthony Mason asking about his drive and motivation. Springsteen replies:

“I believe every artist had someone who told them that they weren’t worth dirt and someone who told them that they were the second coming of the baby Jesus, and they believed ‘em both … that’s the fuel that starts the fire.”

Of his breakthrough song, “Born To Run,” Springsteen says he “was trying to make the greatest record you’d ever heard. The record that after you heard it, you didn’t have to hear another record …”

Beyond music, the two talk about important relationships in Springsteen’s life, his wife, father, and Clarence Clemons, the iconic sax player of the E Street Band who died in 2011. Springsteen writes, “Losing Clarence was like losing the rain.”

Of his father he says, “I felt I hadn’t been completely fair to him in my music … I think I left an image of him as sort of this very domineering character, which he could be at different times. And he could be frightening. But he was also much, much more. He had a much more complicated life.”

“I’m still in love with playing,” he says at the conversation’s end, “And my attitude at this point in my life is, this is what I love to do. I wanna do as much of it as I can.”

His memoir, Born to Run (S&S; S&S Audio) will be published on Sept. 27. As we noted earlier, the book is timed to a new companion album release, Chapter & Verse. According to Springsteen’s website, the musician picked the songs on the album “to reflect the themes and sections” of his memoir.

Also part of the feature is a 45 image photo gallery.

A full video has not yet been released, below is an excerpt about writing the memoir:

Page to Screen: LION

Friday, August 26th, 2016

9780425276198_292f1A memoir of an amazing journey of loss and recovery, Saroo Brierley’s A Long Way Home, (PRH/Viking, 2014, trade paperback, 2015) is headed to the silver screen, starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham. They join a cast of actors well-known in India, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, and Tannishtha Chatterjee. The inspirational tear-jerker is directed by Garth Davis (Top of the Lake).

The Weinstein Company film, retitled Lion, will open nation wide on Nov. 25, the Friday after Thanksgiving, not only a prime time to attract families looking for entertainment, but also good timing for awards. Vanity Fair reports the film is “Already on Awards-Season Short Lists.

In the book, Brierley recounts how he was separated from his family in rural India at age 4, when he climbed aboard a train and was carried over a thousand miles away to a city he did not know. He wound up in an orphanage, was adopted and relocated to Tasmania.

Interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered when the book was published, Brierley describes how he tried to find his way home by studying Google Earth looking for a familiar landscape — a river, a waterfall, and a fountain. He says the moment he finally found his mother “was like a nuclear fusion.”

The tie-in uses the film’s title, Lion, Saroo Brierley (PRH/Berkley; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Below is the recently released trailer, followed by Brierley giving a speech about his journey, and the NPR interview.

A Frontier Memoir Resurfaces

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

9780316341394_cdcc0A circuitous publishing path has brought new attention to a frontier memoir, recounting the hardscrabble life in Arkansas and on the Mississippi Delta during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Trials of the Earth: The True Story of a Pioneer Woman, Mary Mann Hamilton (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, the book is rising on Amazon, leapfrogging over a thousand other books to move from #1,170 to #76.

Hamilton’s life story first saw the light of day when a neighbor urged her to enter her journal into a writing competition sponsored by publisher Little, Brown in 1933. It did not win and languished in a box kept under a bed, until the University Press of Mississippi published it to little fanfare in 1992 (although it was reviewed by the New York Times). Coming full circle, Little, Brown, has just  published a new edition.

NPR reviewer Maureen Corrigan calls it a “standout,” with a “blunt voice” that makes vivid the world Hamilton occupied. Highlighting a racist passage, she warns some of the “sections are ugly and tough to read” but that ultimately the book is rewarding, revealing the wildness of that world and “just how easy it was to vanish in an earlier America.”

USA Today gave it three out of four stars, writing it “underscores the huge power of unvarnished storytelling.”

The Chicago Tribune writes vividly about the “backbreaking labor” and wilderness Hamilton existed within, offering a picture of a woman tough as nails. In an especially intense example: soon after Hamilton gave birth, her home was cut off by flood waters, she “shelters with her daughter and three-month-old baby on a tree stump while bears swim past in the flood, not knowing whether her husband is dead or alive.”

Similar to the unexpected success of another frontier memoir, Pioneer Girl, holds are growing and inventory is low. In libraries we checked some systems are showing hold figures as high as 6:1.

Born To Be Read

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Bruce Springsteen’s memoir, Born to Run (S&S; S&S Audio; Sept. 27), is rising on Amazon, jumping to #178, up from #525. The leap coincides with the release of a music filled book trailer:

The 500+ page book is expected to be a candid memoir covering the span of the musician’s career. As the NY Daily News reported when the book deal went public, Springsteen said “Writing about yourself is a funny business … But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”

RollingStone, quoting from publisher statements, reports “the book will chronicle Springsteen’s life from growing up in Freehold, New Jersey amid ‘poetry, danger and darkness’ and how it inspired him to become a musician.”

BrucechapterandverseThe book is timed to a new companion album release, Chapter & Verse. It will include five previously unreleased tracks. Springsteen’s website says the musician picked the songs on the album “to reflect the themes and sections” of his memoir: “The compilation begins with two tracks from The Castiles, featuring a teenaged Springsteen on guitar and vocals, and ends with the title track from 2012’s ‘Wrecking Ball.’”

The album will be released four days before the memoir.

Pennie Picks A Memoir

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

9781501151255_c2d1eInfluential book buyer, Costco’s  Pennie Clark Ianniciello, selects the memoir Please Enjoy Your Happiness, Paul Brinkley-Rogers (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) as her August pick.

Written decades after the events in his book took place, Brinkley-Rogers, now 77, takes readers back to the summer of 1959 when he was stationed as a young sailor in Japan. There he met an older woman and the two fell into a significant friendship centered on “poetry, literature and music, a postwar cultural exchange heightened by a dramatic subplot involving yakuza gangsters,” according to The Costco Connection.

In a sidebar Ianniciello says she was “completely knocked off my feet” while reading, finding the book a “beautifully moving testament to the power of love.”

The book is thus far flying largely under the radar and several of the libraries we checked have yet to place orders. However, Bustle did pick it as one of their 17 featured nonfiction books of August, saying it:

“is the moving account of how writer Paul Brinkley-Rogers fell in love with a Japanese woman in 1959 while stationed overseas and never managed to get over her. Through both his depiction of their relationship and the touching letters they wrote one another, the book shares pieces of her fascinating life and her country’s history and how she left her mark. The memoir is a beautiful love letter in itself.”

Keep your eye on it. While Pennie’s Picks are eclectic, ranging from already established hits such as Ron Chernow’s  Alexander Hamilton to lesser-known titles, her picks of the latter often result in their showing up on best seller list.

Holds Alert: HILLBILLY ELEGY

Monday, August 1st, 2016

9780062300546_801dfRequests are soaring for a memoir that details a key touchstone in the race for President, the feelings of alienation and loss among the white working class, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J. D. Vance (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Demand is being generated by strong media coverage. The Wall Street Journal writes about it in a feature, The Washington Post printed an excerpt, and David Brooks recommends the book in his NYT‘s column “Revolt of the Masses,” writing “Vance’s family is from Kentucky and Ohio, and his description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history.”

In the WSJ Vance says his memoir seeks to address why he felt “culturally foreign” at Yale Law School and “started out as a quest to answer questions about his own upbringing but developed into a broader conversation about social divisions in the U.S. and feelings of disenfranchisement among the white working class.”

In the excerpted passage in the WP he writes, “economic cynicism brought with it a feeling that the country we believed in could no longer be trusted.”

His solution to a problem that spans multiple states is decidedly local, telling WSJ: “Concretely, I want pastors and church leaders to think about how to build community churches, to keep people engaged, and to worry less about politics and more about how the people in their communities are doing … I want parents to fight and scream less, and to recognize how destructive chaos is to their children’s future.”

His memoir is currently the 4th bestselling book on Amazon and holds have reached 8:1 ratios. A fact that one library patron shares with other readers of WSJ, writing in the comments section: “I tried to obtain Hillbilly Elegy from the library…I’m 95th in line for 12 copies.”

Interest in the subject has already proven high, as White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg (PRH/Viking; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) attests.

Hanks is Sully

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

A trailer has just been released for the movie Sully, based on Highest Duty by Chesley Sullenberger (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2009), a memoir by the man who piloted an airplane to safety on New York’s Hudson River after its engines were disabled by a bird strike.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks is in the lead role, with Laura Linney as his wife. The movie will be released on Sept. 9.

Tie-in:

Sully : My Search for What Really Matters
Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III, Jeffrey Zaslow
HarperCollins/Morrow,  August 30, 2016
Trade Paperback
Mass Market

Soon after, Hanks stars in Inferno, based on the book by Dan Brown. It opens Oct. 28th.

Several tie-ins are being released, see our list of upcoming movie tie-ins.

Crystal Ball: IN THE DARKROOM

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

9780805089080_3aeb5Attention is growing for Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books; OverDrive Sample) and while holds have yet to take off, Pulitzer Prize-winning Faludi is known for making a splash. It is a good bet that her memoir will gain steam.

It is a timely story, about  Fluid’s relationship with her father, who had sex reassignment surgery late in life, as well as Faludi’s own relationship with her parent, after an almost complete estrangement.

During NPR’s Fresh Air  yesterday, Maureen Corrigan reviewed the memoir, saying it is “sprawling … a wide-ranging exploration of the concept of identity [that offers] a literary, even Gothic feel.”

As parent and adult child spend time together in a crumbling house, which, say  Corrigan points even has a locked attic, Faludi explores her childhood memories as contrasted to her new reality, seeking to find answers about identity, past and present, Corrigan says the search is “compelling, exhausting, messy and provocative.”

In a review posted online today and set to run on the front page of this coming  Sunday Book Review, The New York Times calls the memoir “rich, arresting and ultimately generous.”

Entertainment Weekly gave it an A- late last week, saying “It’s a gripping and honest personal journey—bolstered by reams of research—that ultimately transcends family and addresses much bigger questions of identity and reinvention.

The Wall Street Journal [subscription may be required] and Elle each offer takes as well while the Guardian ran an illustrated illustrated extract from the book.

GLASS CASTLE: Filming Begins

Friday, June 10th, 2016

glassThe film adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir The Glass Castle, (S&S/Scribner, 2005) is about to begin production in Montreal before moving on to Welch, WVA., reports Collider.

The film stars Brie Larson, winner of the Best Actress Oscar for Room, as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional, sometimes homeless, parents.

The release date has not yet been set.