Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

The ORANGE Effect

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

The second season of Orange Is The New Black was released on NetFlix on June 6th. It may have wandered  from the book, and may not live up to the first season, but it features even more references to other books, so many that Entertainment Weekly was able to create a season 2 reading list of a dozen titles (ranging from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars).

The memoir’s author, Piper Kerman appeared on the Diane Rehm show recently, to talk about her life since the book and the series and her work for prison reform.

With the airing of the new series, Orange Is The New Black has moved back up best seller lists.


Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Fresh off the boatThe ABC TV series based on NYC restaurateur Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; BOT), has been given the green light for the 2014/2015 season.

Looks like they are sticking with the memoir title for the series. Earlier we reported that the network had changed the title to Far East Orlando, which received protests for being racist from many, including Huang.

Now the original title is getting its own criticism via Twitter.

Trailer below:


Monday, May 19th, 2014

Another Great DayWe’re always on the look out for reviews that make our mouths water. Laura Miller did it for us yesterday in Salon with her review of Geoff Dyer’s Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, (RH/Pantheon), a book we neglected to include in our highlights for the week. Not only did she make us want to read that book, but every other book Dyer has written.

As she says, the very concept is brilliant,

The notion of installing a writer of Dyer’s baroquely sensitive and self-conscious temperament aboard an American aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf is obviously a stroke of genius. In fact, Dyer’s two-week writer-in-residency stint on the USS George H.W. Bush was his own idea…

She wanders off for a paragraph about the book not being what she had expected, a failing of many reviewers, but quickly gets it back on track and offers great stuff for readers advisors to steal.

Jon Stewart’s Movie Closer to Screen

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater, has been acquired for release in the U.S. by Open Road Films.

The film is based on one of the many books Stewart has featured on the Daily Show, Maziar Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me, (Random House, 2011), about the author’s imprisonment in Iran.

The title comes form the nickname of one of Bahari’s captors. It stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, whose previous credits include the role of Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries.

The release date has not yet been announced.

Below, Bahari appears on The Daily Show in 2009, after his release:

Kidnapping Victim’s Memoir, On Cover of People

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

peoplecover_205x273The cover story of the new issue of People magazine (on newsstands today) features an excerpt from Michelle Knight’s memoir of  being kidnapped held captive in Cleveland for ten years, a time during which she was brutally raped and tortured by her captor.

Knight was the subject of a  a two-part interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper this week and also appeared on the Dr. Phil show.

Her book, published on Tuesday, is Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings (Perseus/Weinstein Books; Recorded Books).

FRESH OFF THE BOAT Served Three Ways

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Fresh off the boat

First, there was NYC restaurateur Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; BOT), and his beyond-Bourdain TV food series of the same title on Vice’s Munchies Channel, just renewed for its third season. Next, there may be an ABC TV series based on the memoir. The pilot awaits network executive’s decision about whether it will get the greenlight. The title of the pilot, however, was recently changed to “Far East Orlando,” regarded as racist by many, including Huang himself.

The Wall Street Journal‘s “Speak Easy” blog sticks to the original title in “Why the Fresh Off the Boat TV Series Could Change the Game.” Admitting to possible bias, the author, the father of the 10-year-old lead, Jeff Yang, predicts,

The show is like nothing you will have ever seen before on television. If it makes it to air, it will blow minds, raise eyebrows and, to quote a line that my son says as Little Eddie, “change the game.” I would honestly say the same if I weren’t the lead actor’s father. It’s that different. And provocative. And, yes, gut-bustingly funny.

He notes that if it makes it to series, it will be the only Asian American family sitcom since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl  gave hope twenty years ago that “millions of people across the nation might be gathering to watch a show in which they’d be invited into an immigrant Asian household, experiencing our unique issues and aspirations through the humanizing lens of comedy.” 

But first, something has to be done about that title.

Keaton Turns the Tables

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Our headline for this story is a bit different from USA Today’s, “Diane Keaton Flirts Like Crazy With Matt Lauer.”

To us, it looks like she knew exactly how to take control of the interview.

It seems to have worked, Keaton’s new memoir, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, (Random House; RH Audio; RH Large Print) rose to #189 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

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Media Attention: STRUCK BY GENIUS

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The lead book review in People magazine this week (the world’s  50 Most Beatutiful People issue, featuring 12 Years A Slave star Lupita Nyong’o on the cover) is for an unusual memoir. Jason Padgett a “muscled, Mullet-wearing party boy whose most profound thought involved his favorite teams and new dates.” (the New York Post puts it succinctly in their headline, “From Mullet To Math Genius“).

Today, he works with MIT scientists on fractal applications. What caused this huge change? A traumatic  brain injury that seems to have unlocked mathematical talents. People gives 3.5 of 4 stars to his memoir,  Struck by Genius, (HMH; Brilliance Audio), noting that it readers “contemplate the bizarre gifts that might lie within all of us.”

The author appeared on today’s CBS This Morning.


Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

9780767902526Production has begun on the long-gestating Nick Nolte/Robert Redford adaptation of Bill Bryson’s memoir, A Walk in the Woods, (RH/Broadway; RH Audio, 1998) near Georgia’s Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, according to the local press.

Bryson’s memoir recounts his misadventures as he attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail, despite “years of waddlesome sloth” with his old pal Katz, a man even more ill-prepared for the effort than he is. Redford will play Bryson and Nolte, Katz (in a role originally planned for Redford’s late friend Paul Newman).

Boston Marathon Bombing; First Anniversary

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

StrongerAs the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing approaches, the Boston Public Library unveils an exhibit, “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial,” which includes items from the a spontaneous memorial that developed in Copley Square

One of the people who was injured in that tragedy, Jeff Bauman, appeared on the Today Show this morning, to talk about his remarkable recovery from losing both his legs and his book, released today, Stronger, (Hachette/Grand Central).

Bauman, will also be featured in a special report on Friday’s NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, “108 Hours: Inside the Hunt for the Boston Marathon Bomber.”

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Sunday, April 6th, 2014

A feature movie based on the classic WWI memoir, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, began filming last week at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire, England, according to local news stories.

Just last year, 80 years after publication, the book was called “one of the most powerful and widely read war memoirs of all time,” by The Guardian. When it was published in 1933, it was “an instant hit,” and Virginia Woolf wrote in her diaries that she had to stay up all night to finish it. It’s pacifist message fell out of favor during WWII, but in 1978 the feminist Virago Press brought it back into print to great success. Today, notes The Guardian, “the book seems to strike a chord with contemporary readers who have themselves lived through an era of renewed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The title role is being played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (whose breakout was in the supporting role of Kitty in Anna Karenina; she also starred in the Oscar-nomated Danish movie, A Royal Affair), replacing Saoirse Ronan, who was originally cast for the role.

The book is currently available in the U.S. in trade paperback from Penguin Books:

Testament of YouthTestament of Youth
Vera Brittain
Penguin Classics, 2005
9780143039235, 0143039237
Trade paperback $20.00 USD

Up In Smoke

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The Last Pirate“If you smoked Colombian marijuana in the ’70s or ’80s, I owe you a thank-you card,” says Tony Dokoupil on CBS Sunday Morning.

Why?  “Because you brought my father’s product, and you bought my baseball gloves by extension, and you put me through private school. And you paid for the boat that we crisscrossed the oceans in and the Caribbean vacations. The good life.”

Dokoupil, currently a a senior writer for NBC News, also appears on NPR’s Fresh Air today, to talk about his book, which arrives tomorrow, The Last Pirate, (RH/Doubleday) about his search for his father, who left the family when his son was a child and the surprising things he discovered about him.


Monday, March 24th, 2014

How About Never?“If you love New Yorker cartoons, you’ll probably love the view from Bob Mankoff’s desk,” says Terry Gross, introducing her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air today with the magazine’s cartoon editor about his memoir, the title of which comes from his most famous cartoons, How About Never, Is Never Good for You? (Macmillan/Holt, publishing tomorrow).

That line is so famous, it’s been appropriated in many ways (Mankoff’s favorite; it’s been printed on panties). He says, however, it will NOT appear on his tombstone.


Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Dancing Fish And Ammonites   Savage Harvest

Penelope Lively was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air (listen here) about her new book, Dancing Fish And Ammonites, (Penguin/Viking), which the 81-year-old author says is “not quite a memoir,” but rather “the view from old age.”

Today, the show features journalist Carl Hoffman on his new book Savage Harvest (HarperCollins/Morrow), with the long subtitle/annotation,  A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art. The author was also interviewed this past weekend on another NPR show, Weekend Edition Saturday. An excerpt of the book appears in the March Smithsonian Magazine.

ORANGE Is Back June 6th

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Orange is the New Black   Orange is the New Black tie-in

People magazine presents an exclusive sneak peek, in the form of four photos from the second season of the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, which made Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir, (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2011; tie-in, 2013) a best seller. It premieres on Friday, June 6.

They do their best to try to turn into a story. It’s almost as fun as watching Glamour magazine try to glean news from the 17-second teaser trailer that was released last month.