Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

Hold Alert: BETTYVILLE

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 10.15.35 AMBettyville by George Hodgman (Penguin/Viking; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample) is getting increased attention. The just released memoir by a former editor for Vanity Fair and book editor for Henry Holt who moves from NYC to tiny Paris, Missouri to care for his aging and ill mother, has already been featured in a profile in  The New York Times, which called it,

 “… a most remarkable, laugh-out-loud book … Rarely has the subject of elder care produced such droll human comedy, or a heroine quite on the mettlesome order of Betty Baker Hodgman … For as much as the book works on several levels (as a meditation on belonging, as a story of growing up gay and the psychic cost of silence, as metaphor for recovery), it is the strong-willed Betty who shines through.”

Yesterday, Terry Gross conducted a lengthy interview with Hodgman on Fresh Air. When asked about how he works to make his mother happy, Hodgman shared that they watch Dirty Dancing every week and “I started giving her books to read. We started with Nicholas Sparks. I don’t think there is anybody in this world who is more thankful for Nicholas Sparks than I am.”

The memoir is also People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” saying, “Slowly — convincingly — [Hodgman and his mother] come to terms with each other. You won’t finish their tale dry-eyed.”

Check your holds, some libraries have ratios over 5 to 1.

AMERICAN SNIPER Story Continues

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 8.09.04 AM Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, is writing a memoir entitled American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith and Renewal (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audio). Co-written by Jim DeFelice who also co-wrote American Sniper, it will be released on May 4, 2015.

Publicity has already begun. ABC announced yesterday that Robin Roberts will interview Kyle on both Good Morning America and 20/20 on May 1, days before the book’s release.

The LA Times’ “Jacket Copy” reported the news as well, tying the book to Chris Kyle’s own bestselling memoir, pe2015-01-30-recap-thumbwhich continues to dominate best seller lists after the release of Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film version of American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper. Taya Kyle worked with the screenwriter and consulted on the film.

She was in the news last month when she testified at the  trial of her husband’s killer and has been featured in stories in People, US Weekly, and NPR.

Check your orders; some libraries have not ordered it yet and most have ordered it modestly. You can expect to be seeing more of the media savvy Taya Kyle.

More HAWK Flying Your way

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMThe sudden attention to Helen Macdonald’s memoir H is for Hawk (Grove Press; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) has resulted in the book being out of stock at many wholesalers.

We’ve checked with the publisher who says a new printing is coming by the end of the week and yet another next week.

Those copies are sure to be snapped up as the media continues its blitz. The New Yorker has a piece on it in this week’s issue (with a headline that puts to shame all our attempts at hawkish puns, “Rapt“), the author was interviewed on NPR’s midday news program Here and Now yesterday and several other sources including Time magazine have stories in the works.

9781590172490Also keep your eyes open for requests another book. The New Yorker describes H is for Hawk as “one part grief memoir, one part guide to raptors, and one part biography of T. H. White, who chronicled his maiden effort at falconry in
The Goshawk, written just before he began work
on The Once and Future King.”

The Goshawk is available from the New York Review of Books Classics.

Jennifer Lawrence,
War Photographer

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.14.02 AMJennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, Winter’s Bone, Silver Linings Playbook) is set to star as a combat photojournalist in an adaptation of Lynsey Addario’s just released memoir,  It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin, Feb. 10; OverDrive Sample). Stephen Spielberg is attached to direct.

Warner Bros. won what Deadline characterizes as a “whirlwind auction” for the film rights, adding”The memoir has been the hot title since it was excerpted by The New York Times Magazine, and there were no shortage of bidders for the life of a woman who goes into the most dangerous places in the world in search of truth.”

The book has also been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Time, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and it debuted at #11 on the 3/8 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list.

Below, Addario appears on The Daily Show:

Memoir of the Dark
Breaks Into the Light

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.48.49 AMGirl in the Dark (Random House/Doubleday, 3/3/15; BOT), a memoir written by a woman calling herself Anna Lyndsey (to protect her privacy), recounts a rare and mysterious reaction to light – sunlight and fluorescent – so severe she was forced to quit her job and live in a dark room, sustained by midnight walks, the radio, and audiobooks.

So, of course, it is also available as an audiobook.

Spotting it early, NPR highlighted the book in a “First Read” feature a few weeks ago, calling it “a gorgeously written, occasionally snarky chronicle” and T: The New York Times Style Magazine ran a profile of the author, describing her book as “funny, sharp, mostly devastating.”

More attention is on the way. Reviews are scheduled by People and the NYT Book Review, making this a good time to order additional copies.

HAWK Reaches New Heights

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AM

Last week, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample) got rare double raves from sister but quite separate publications, the book section of the daily NYT and the cover of the Sunday NYT Book Review.

This week, it gets the same treatment from another pair of sister publications, People magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

It’s People‘s “Book of the Week,” with this stellar review (not available online),

Obsessed with falconry since childhood, British naturalist MacDonald decides to adopt and train a goshawk as a way to handle the frief that overwhelms her after her father’s death. Her evolving relationship with th feral bird, whom she christens Mabel, is the subject of this unusual memoir. Captivating and beautifully writtten, it’s a meditation on the bond between beasts and humans and the pain and beauty of being alive.

Entertainmenet Weekly begins their review (also not yet online) by declaring that this “memoir about an out-of-work English professor grieving over her father who comes to find solace and purpose by killing bunnies for her hawk will be one of the loveliest things you’re read this year …”

For R.A. purposes, you may want to cut the “killing bunnies” section when quoting the review.

Hawk Soars

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMHelen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample), a memoir about how she dealt with the painful loss of her beloved father by training a goshawk, is gaining attention on this side of the ocean after receiving both high praise and strong sales in Britain. Macdonald won both the Costa Book Award for Biography (scroll to page 3 to see the announcement) and the Costa Book of the Year in January as well as The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction (the UK’s highest award for nonfiction) last November.

In the daily NYT this week, Dwight Garner raves:

Helen Macdonald’s beautiful and nearly feral book, H Is for Hawk, her first published in the United States, reminds us that excellent nature writing can lay bare some of the intimacies of the wild world as well. Her book is so good that, at times, it hurt me to read it. It draws blood, in ways that seem curative.

This Sunday’s NYT Book Review features it on the cover (a rare occurrence for a book that hasn’t yet been released; we can’t remember the last time the NYT BR gave such prominence to an upcoming book):

In her breathtaking new book … Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor’s fierce essence — and her own — with words that mimic feathers, so impossibly pretty we don’t notice their astonishing engineering.

Some libraries are showing heavy holds and rising on modest orders while a few have yet to order. Now’s the time to buy it ahead of the stampede.

Advance Attention:
Kim Gordon Memoir

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

0062295896_454a6Girl In a Band by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (HarperCollins/Dey Street, 2/24), gets a succinct review from Bustle, “If you just feel like getting inspired by some prose written by a kickass, feminist rock star, Gordon’s book delivers.”

Arriving next week, it also gets attention via a profile of the author in the New York Times. Even though Gordon warns the book contains “No sex, drugs or rock ’n’ roll,”  and is “the most conventional thing I’ve done,” more attention is undoubtly on its way.

Holds Alert: NIGHT OF THE GUN

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

nightoftheHolds are rising in libraries for David Carr’s memoir, The Night of the Gun (S&S, 2008), causing several to order more copies in trade paperback.

Sadly, people are being brought to the book by the author’s recent death at 58, with news stories and obits noting his searing memoir of the days when he was, as he himself describes it, a “violent drug-snorting thug.”

Beloved among fellow journalists, his “fond and tearful” wake on Tuesday was covered in many publications, from the New York Times, where he was the media reporter,  to The Economist and the New York Post.

An excerpt from the book was the cover story of the NYT Magazine when it was published in 2008. In the book, he took a journalists’ approach to his own life, reporting on it by interviewing the people who witnessed it.

Thanks to Barrie Olmstead, Adult Materials Selector, Sacramento Public Library, for the tip.

War, Women, and Photography

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.14.02 AMCombat photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has been kidnapped twice, won a McArthur “Genius” award, and was a member of a team that won a Pulitzer, has published a memoir,  It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin, Feb. 10; OverDrive Sample). Heavily covered in the media, it is racing up the Amazon sales rankings. It has received attention from a wide range of publications, including NPR’s Fresh Air, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Time, and the New York Times Magazine. (with the arresting headline, “What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything.”)

While described as both affecting and riveting, Addario’s take on photography, war, and being a woman in a high-octane profession has had mixed reviews. Kirkus gives it a star, saying the memoir is “a remarkable achievement … a brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir that is as inspiring as it is horrific.” Entertainment Weekly, however, gives it a “B”, marking it down for failing to fully flesh out the people in Addario’s life.

As more attention mounts, Addario’s amazing and timely story, illustrated with 90 of her photographs, is likely to have staying power – making it a title to watch.

Lessons of Scarcity

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

pioneer-girl-ciA headline from yesterday’s SlateA Tiny Press Printed Only 15,000 Copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Autobiography. Big Mistake, has sent Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, (South Dakota Historical Society Press) flying back up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Part of the appeal may be the comment that, now that the book is out of stock, “ ‘Used’ copies on Amazon (in this case meaning ‘existing’) started at $399 as of this writing,” (see our earlier stories on the book, from August and December).

Holds are also climbing in many libraries. Cross your fingers that circulating copies will be returned.

Making Headlines:
GUANTÁNAMO DIARY

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Guantanamo DiaryBook news is currently dominated by Guantánamo Diary  (Hachette/Little, Brown), a memoir by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Larry Siems. The author, who is still being held at the prison, details the tortures he has endured there. Featured on yesterday’s Morning Edition, the host noted, “The Pentagon confirmed to NPR that for a brief period at Guantanamo in 2003, a ‘special interrogation plan’ was designed for Slahi, and it was outside the military’s own standard interrogation procedures.”

Excerpts are published in People magazine, it will be on the cover of the Feb. 15 NYT Book Review (online now, three weeks ahead of the print version, presumably to coincide with the publication), is featured in the L.A. Times, reviewed by The Washington Post. and the basis for a NYT Op-Ed piece.

The Guardian. which is serializing the book, features a documentary about it on their Web site:

In the U.K., celebrities, including Colin Firth, Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nick Cave are supporting the “Free Slahi” campaign.

Check your orders. Most libraries have ordered conservatively and holds are light so far, but we expect them to surge as the story creates even more headlines.

UPDATE: coverage is expected on Friday’s PBS Newshour. ABC This Week is planning coverage, TBA, and the daily NYT is also planning a review. The book was embargoed, so no advance reviews. LJ noted it in Prepub Alert in July and  Kirkus  just posted their review online.

Guantánamo Diary
Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems,
Hachette/Little, Brown,  January 20, 2015
Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio,  9781478986942
E-Book, 9780316328609

AMERICAN SNIPER
Storms Box Office

Monday, January 19th, 2015

The Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper, based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography, was a big winner at the box office this weekend, giving the movie industry much-needed hope.The timing of the film’s wide release, immediately after the Oscar nominations were announced, is considered a big factor in its success.

Another is the film’s patriotic appeal, although that is being question by several who object to the movie making a hero of a man who said in his book, “The enemy are savages and despicably evil,” and his “only regret is that I didn’t kill more.”

The movie’s subject, the late Chris Kyle is getting renewed attention, including this story on NBC’s Nightly News:

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9780062238863_986cb  9780062376336_4cf40  9780062290793_498b1

As a result, his book, which has been a long-running best seller, now occupies three spots on the Amazon top 10, with another editions is at #64:

#1 —   Mass market ed. with original cover, (Harper, 2013)
#5 —   Trade pbk tie-in (HarperCollins/Morrow Paperbacks, 2014)
#8 —   Hardcover memorial edition (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2013)
#64 — Mass market. tie-in, (Harper, 2014)

Misty Copeland

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Calling her as “The Cover Girl For A New Kind Of Ballet,” CBS Sunday Morning featured African-American ballerina Misty Copeland.

9781476737980_f76ddHer autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, (S&S/Touchstone; Tantor Audio), published in hardcover in March, is coming out in trade paperback this week.

She also published a children’s picture book in September, Firebird, illus. by Christopher Myers, (Penguin/Putnam) picked as a best book of the year by NPR:

9780399166150_a023d

“The book is for very young dancers who may not see many people who look like them in the world of ballet. It’s illustrated by Christopher Myers, whose collagelike work is painterly, vivid and emotional. Copeland’s writing and Myers’ art draw you into a beautiful world, rich with color, texture and drama. For all budding young artists who maybe don’t have role models they can relate to, this little book provides some inspiration.

 

Holds Alert: THE WILD TRUTH

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

9780062325143_d2988Several libraries show growing holds on modest quantities of The Wild Truth, by Carine McCandless, (HarperCollins; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe).

The author is the sister of Chris McCandless, a man who seemingly had everything, but ended as an emaciated corpse discovered in a bus in the Alaskan wilderness after giving away most of his money and breaking with his family.

The story was featured in Jon Krakauer’s 1996 best seller, Into the Wild, which was adapted into a 2007 movie adaptation, starring Emile Hirsch and directed by Sean Penn. In her book, Carine McCandles, who was 21 years old at the time, gives more insight into her brother’s seemingly erratic behavior. A new documentary about him, Return to the Wild, will air on PBS on Nov. 25.

Reviewed this week on the NPR web site, it was also featured on ABC’s 20/20 and on the People magazine web site.