Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category


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.


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.


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.


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.

Dunham Drops New Title

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

lenabook2_largeFollowing her best seller, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham is releasing a surprise new title, in a move characterized by BuzzFeed as “Beyoncé-style,” referring to the singer’s surprise release of the album Lemonade.

Is It Evil Not To Be Sure?, a 56-page “chapbook” of excepts from Dunham’s college diaries, was released early this morning as an eBook, published under Dunham’s imprint Lenny. So far, it is not available from library vendors. A $25  limited hardcover edition of just 2,000 copies will be available for sale beginning at noon today, with profits going to the organization, Girls Write Now.

Ripert Charms

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

9780812992984_72d44Three-star Michelin chef, author of four cookbooks, familiar to many from his appearances on various cooking shows, including his own, Avec Ripertwas feted on yesterday’s CBS This Morning for his new book, a memoir, 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line, (PRH/Random House; RH Audio).

Libraries are showing heavy holds on very light ordering.

The New York Times profiled Ripert, an this book,  earlier this month. During the interview, Ripert eats a prodigious meal. saying, “When I eat, I eat. I do not understand the idea of guilty pleasure. It’s all about pleasure.”

Publishers Weekly reflects the universal praise from trade reviewers, “With his exacting prose and eye for detail, Ripert has created a wonderful memoir about his early days as a chef.”


Monday, May 16th, 2016

9781101874936_d2c41The most recent audio book club pick by Slate [UPDATE: sorry, the audio is no longer on the Slate site. It is available free on iTunes]  Lab Girl, Hope Jahren (PRH/Knopf; BOT; OverDrive Sample), currently #18 on the extended NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list and a GalleyChat favorite.

Slate critics Susan Matthews, Laura Miller, and Katy Waldman offer glowing praise, calling it “wonderful” “beautiful” and “endearing” and saying it is already one of the 10 best books of the year, comparable to H is for Hawk and to the work of Oliver Sacks.

Beyond the style of the memoir and its tone, the Slate critics centrally appreciate the detailed insider look at what it is like to “do science.” They also appreciate the way Jahren approaches science as not about getting the world to tell you what you want it to, but listening to what is really happening.

They conclude the conversation by saying the book should be required reading.

Readers seem to agree, holds are strong at libraries we checked with spikes well above a 3:1 ratio at some locales.

TODAY Show Double

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

9781455567065_d1864Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, Ally Hilfiger (Hachette/Center Street; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon due to a double appearance on the Today show.

Hilfiger, daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and star of MTV’s 2003 show Rich Girls, talks with Jenna Bush Hager in one feature and in another with Hoda and Kathie Lee. Both interviews address her physical and mental struggles with Lyme Disease.

Timed to coincide with Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Hilfiger memoir details how she was misdiagnosed for 14 years, suffered a mental breakdown, and was hospitalized before finally getting treatment.

Ordering is low thus far at libraries we checked.


Thursday, May 5th, 2016

glass If you’ve been rooting for the film adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir The Glass Castle, (S&S/Scribner, 2005), you’ll cheer at the news that the main cast in nearly in place, signaling that the film may finally move forward after having been originally signed four years ago.

Actress Sarah Snook, reports Deadline, is in negotiations to play the sister of Brie Larson who stars as Walls, a role originally assigned to Jennifer Lawrence. Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson will play their parents.

In The Glass Castle Walls writes the harrowing story of her childhood, growing up with dysfunctional, sometimes homeless  parents, to eventually become a well-respected journalist. A best seller in hardcover, it had its biggest success in trade paperback, and was in the top ten on that NYT list for over two years straight, returning many times since, including a run last summer.

Megyn Kelly Memoir This Fall

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

13071938_1685157351746730_3986732117481768984_oMegyn Kelly, Fox News anchor and host of The Kelly File, announces on Facebook that she will publish her memoir this fall.

Kelly’s profile has risen lately thanks to Donald Trump’s attacks.

Trump is not sticking to the boycott. In a new twist, Deadline Hollywood reports that Kelly will interview the candidate in her first prime time special, Megyn Kelly Presents, airing during sweeps week on May 17.

The untitled book (Harper: ISBN 9780062494603) is available to preorder through library vendors and will release on 11/16/2015, one week after the presidential election.

According to the publisher the book will detail Kelly’s rise in journalism, her career at Fox, and the 2016 primary.