Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

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.

Tie-in:

9781250098450_a25ea
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
DAILY SHOW

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.

Holds Alert: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

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.”

ORANGE Alert

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.

Holds Alert: DOWN THE
RABBIT HOLE

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 10.01.17 AMLibraries that bought Holly Madison’s new memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny (Harper/Dey Street Books; HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio) are seeing soaring holds.

Madison, once a Playboy bunny and now a reality TV star, is pushing hard for a TV movie deal, telling E! she hopes Lily James (of Cinderella and Downton Abbey fame) would star.

Of course, all of this may just be wishful thinking by Madison, but she is a skilled promoter and already has a TV show (after Dancing with the Stars and The Girls Next Door), so she may get her wish, if not her fairy tale casting.

Hold ratios are deep in the red where libraries bought lightly and attention is still going strong with an appearance today on Good Morning America and reaction coming from Hugh Hefner in response to her allegations about life in the Playboy Mansion.

THE CORFU TRILOGY,
New Adaptation

Friday, June 19th, 2015

111780The beloved memoirs by Gerald Durrell (Lawrence’s younger brother), The Corfu Trilogy are set to become a 6-part TV series, commissioned by ITV in the U.K. Deadline reports that filming is expected to begin this summer.

The series, titled after the first book in the trilogy, My Family And Other Animals (1956), is about Durrell’s childhood prior to WW II, when his mother moved the family to the Greek island of Corfu. There he learned to love wildlife, leading to his career as a well-known naturalist and zookeeper. The other books in the series are  Birds, Beasts, And Relatives (1969) and The Garden Of The Gods (1978).

Two other adaptations have been made of the first book, a TV series in 1987 by the BBC and A&E and a 90 minute made for TV movie in 2005.

Order Alert:
THE SEVEN GOOD YEARS

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.15.55 AMWith so many memoirs coming out each season, it’s difficult to predict which ones will take off. Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years: A Memoir (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings after the author’s appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. And no wonder. Portrayed by trade reviews as a diffuse collection of parenting stories set in war-torn Israel, it comes across quite differently in the interview.  Host Terry Gross introduces it as a collection of funny and moving tales by a contributor to This American Life focused on war, religion, and history.

It is titled The Seven Good Years because that is the time period between the birth of Keret’s son and the death of his father.

Keret appears wry and rueful with an odd sense of charm, as this excerpt illustrates:

As a 5-year-old I asked my father, “What’s a prostitute?” He said to me, “A prostitute is somebody who makes a living by listening to other people’s problems.”

I asked him, “What’s a mafia guy?” He says, “A mafia guy is like a landlord but he collects money from houses that he doesn’t own.”

And I asked him “What’s a drunk person?” He said, “It’s somebody who has a physical condition that the more liquids he drinks, the happier he becomes.”

At that stage I couldn’t really decide if when I grow up I want to become a drunk prostitute or a drunk mafia guy, but [both] options seemed very attractive.

In addition to the NPR coverage, Keret’s book is one of  Amazon’s “Best Books of June” and made Esquire’s Summer Reading List.

Ordering is light, but where copies are available holds are strong.

PRIMATES OF PARK AVE.
Movie Deal

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.33.59 PMFirst the buzz, then the questions about accuracy and now the possible movie.

After a competitive auction, according to The Hollywood Reporter, MGM has won the film rights to the recently published Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (Simon & Schuster; ebook, 9781476762722).

It hit the NYT Combined Nonfiction Best Sellers list at #2 this week.

PRIMATES OF PARK AVENUE Raises Doubts

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.33.59 PMThe buzzy memoir Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (Simon & Schuster; ebook, 9781476762722) is falling victim to the truth squad with questions arising about the events in the book and its timeline.

According to The New York Times, publisher S&S plans to add a note to future editions as well as the eBook, saying “It is a common narrative technique in memoirs for some names, identifying characteristics and chronologies to be adjusted or disguised, and that is the case with Primates of Park Avenue. A clarifying note will be added to the e-book and to subsequent print editions.”

After early juicy reporting pre-publication, questions have been raised by the New York Post about how accurate the stories are. Reviewing it, Janet Maslin in the daily New York Times includes whoppers such as “Ms. Martin’s description of her book as a ‘stranger-than-fiction story’ is fair — but only because fiction usually makes sense” and “someone has a book to fill and a theme to stick to, regardless of whether it has any point.” On the other hand, Vanessa Grigoriadis in the NYT Sunday Book Review, someone who knows the territory, wasn’t bothered if a few things are suspect, “the sociology rings true, even if the codification can be off (a common practice among stay-at-home moms and their working husbands in a flush year called ‘presents under the Christmas tree’ is here designated a ‘wife bonus’). ”

On track to hit best seller lists this week, the attention is likely to only add to the interest, following the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Hold Alert: THE SHEPHERD’S LIFE

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.07.10 AMAn unlikely title has moved into the top 100 Amazon sales rankings, James Rebanks’s The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches From an Ancient Landscape (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; OverDrive Sample).

About his life as a shepherd in the wild landscape of the Lake District area of England, it celebrates the deep-rooted legacy of family farming that Rebanks can trace back through multiple generations.

That might sound overly specialized, but like H is for Hawk before it, Rebanks’s memoir seems poised to capture a large audience that appreciates fine writing and a sharp eye for detail and place.

For a sense of the landscape and work Rebanks describes, take a look at his book video (he is a man who understands the modern as well as the past, starting his book as a Twitter feed (@herdyshepherd1 which has garnered 63.8 thousand followers to date).

Certainly reviewers are taking note.

The New York Times offers:

“Expertise — and explanations of the craft and clockwork behind the ticktock of a profession — is hugely compelling when described with ardor and élan, and Mr. Rebanks brings both to his account … at once, a memoir, a portrait of his family’s world and an evocative depiction of his vocation as a shepherd.”

The Guardian glows:

“told with perfect pitch, in prose that flows as easily as speech, cleaves hungrily to the particular, and shifts without strain between the workaday and the imaginative.”

The Seattle Times says simply:

“It is as moving, truthful and at times poetic as anything you’re likely to read.”

Readers have gotten on board. Holds are growing with many lists exceeding a 3:1 ratio.