Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

Nobel Prize Announcements Begin

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Betting is running high on Bob Dylan to win the Nobel prize in Literature, reports the Guardian. Daily announcements of the various prizes begin this week. The winner of the prize for literature will be revealed this Thursday.

Don’t get too excited, however, Dylan has been in the lead before. As the Guardian puts it, “Ladbrokes [the London betting agency] have made a killing on Dylan betting in years past … And they’d be fools not to give punters the option of giving them money in this way.”

InfatuationsConsidered a serious contender is Spanish novelist Javíer Marías. His latest title, The Infatuations, (Knopf; Spanish language edition, Los enamoramientos, Vintage Espanol) was published here in August.

The Millions noted earlier this year,

Each of [Marías's] last few books with New Directions [see listings here], translated by Margaret Jull Costa, set a new high-water mark—most recently, the mammoth trilogy Your Face Tomorrow. Now he’s made the jump to Knopf [downloadable list here; Javier Marias -- Knopf titles], which means you’re about to hear a lot about him. And deservedly so, it would seem: The Infatuations has already been called ‘great literature’ in Spain and ‘perhaps his best novel’ in the U.K.

As predicted, he book did receive attention here. It was reviewed in both the NYT Book Review and the Los Angeles Times.

I Am MalalaIn addition, another Nobel Prize, the Peace Prize, may go to an author. Malala Yousafzai, the now 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban last year for her campaign for women’s rights to education, is publishing her memoir this week, I Am Malala (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio).

Diane Sawyer landed aninterview with her, which is being featured all week on ABC, beginning with today’s Good Morning America, World News tonight and the full interview on 20/20 on Friday, the day the Peace Prize will be announced.  She also appears on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

9780062225795_0_CoverScientist and “celebrity atheist,” Richard Dawkins, appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, to discuss his book, An Appetite for Wonder, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio), which is part one of his memoir. The second part is due out in two years, if, says the author, he is “not carried off by the unpredictable equivalent of a sneeze.”

The book is reviewed twice on the NPR web site, one calls it a “delightful memoir… funny and modest, absorbing and playful … a marvelous love letter to science.” The other complains that the first half of the book suffers from “little drama, humor, or any other redeeming factor,” but that the “the pace of the book moves up a notch” after Dawkins discovers science.

Several libraries are showing increased holds on light ordering for the book.

Below is the extended interview, part one (link to the site for parts two and three)

FOOLIN’ with Billy Crystal

Monday, September 9th, 2013

9780805098204Actor/comedian Billy Crystal releases his new book, which is part memoir, part comedy, Still Foolin’ ‘Em, (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio) tomorrow. He and the book have received plenty of pre-pub attention,  featured on yesterday’s CBS Sunday Morning (video not yet posted), on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (listen here), in the NYT and USA Today. He is scheduled to appear on Comedy Central’s Daily Show on Thursday.

Needless to say, the book is  rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, now at  #32. The audio, recorded by Crystal, is also rising, and is currently at #349 (from #4,577).

NYT Magazine Cover: A HOUSE IN THE SKY

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

01cover-sfSpanFeatured on the cover of the upcoming NYT Magazine is an excerpt from A House in the Sky, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio), Amanda Lindhout’s memoir of being kidnapped at gunpoint and spending 460 days in captivity in Somalia.

To be  published on Sept. 10., it is one of the ten titles on the Sept. LibraryReads list, with this recommendation:


“Absolutely gripping, harrowing and unforgettable! This well-written memoir is a true testament to the strength of one woman’s spirit and her will to survive in unimaginable circumstances. The family issues that led Amanda Lindhout from her home in Canada to a life of world travel and a career in journalism are as richly detailed and compelling as the brutal account of her fifteen month-long captivity by Somali Islamist rebels in 2008. She tells her story with such vulnerability and honesty that it is a privilege to read it.” – Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT

More coverage is coming; the author will be featured on NBC’s Dateline, the Today Show and The Nightly News with Brian Williams on Friday, Sept 6. The following week, she will be on CNN”s Anderson 360 and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Libraries Save Lives

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

9780062218834Standing in the library that served as a “safe haven” to her and her four siblings (Middle Country Public Library on Long Island, NY) when they were the homeless children of a mentally ill and abusive mother, Regina Calcaterra talks to Inside Edition (video here) about her memoir of that time, Etched in Sand (HarperCollins/Morrow original trade pbk).

Amazingly, Calcaterra managed to not only survive, but to also put herself through law school and help her siblings who are now all doing well. She says she is very moved by “just the thought that my book may be in this library where I came as a kid who was impoverished and that one day one of these kids are going to be reading it too and figuring out how … they are going to be able to pull themselves up out and out.”

In the new issue of People magazine reviewer Caroline Leavitt writes, “Her book reminds us that it’s possible to suffer the unimaginable and still grow up to make a difference.”


Monday, August 12th, 2013

9780812986181On Today’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviews Piper Kerman. the author of the memoir, Orange is the New Black, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; Tantor Audio), the basis for the new Netflix series.

Gross asks Kerman how accurate the show is. She says “tremendous liberties” were taken, “dreamed up by [producer] Jenji Kohan and her remarkable team of writers.” Gross will interview Kohan tomorrow.

The series has placed the paperback edition on the NYT Non-fiction list. It is currently at #2.


Monday, July 15th, 2013

9780316548182A biopic about Nelson Mandela, based on his 1994  memoir, Long Walk to Freedom
will debut in an Oscar-qualifying limited release in the U.S. on November 29.

The first UK teaser trailer is below (it lists UK release date of January).

Idris Elba plays Mandela and Naomie Harris his former wife, Winnie.


Long Walk to Freedom : The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Hachette/Back Bay
On Sale Date: October 8, 2013
9780316323543, 0316323543
Trade Paperback; $18.00 US / $20.00 Can.
Hachette Audio
$30.00 US / $33.00 Can.

Chronicle is also releasing a book about the film:
Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedo : The Book of the Film
Nelson Mandela, Keith Bernstein
Chronicle Books
On Sale Date: November 26, 2013
9781452128412, 1452128413
Hardback; $35.00 US

Space Writer

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

HadfieldIt’s a book announcement that caused a molecular biologist blogging on the Scientific American site to go all weak in the knees. Astronaut Chris Hadfield signed a deal with Random House Canada to write two books (Hadfeld is Canadian). The first, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, is scheduled for release on Oct. 29. It will be published in the U.S. on the same date by Hachette/Little, Brown.

Commander of the International Space Station for five months, Hadfield is known his creative use of social media to document his experiences.

At this point, only the Canadian edition is listed on retailer and wholesaler sites. Below is the Random House Canada book trailer.


Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Look familiar? The opening scene of the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the 2007 memoir by Jordan Belfort, may remind you of another film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, based on a novel about a party-throwing Long Island millionaire with a dubious financial background…

…even though it’s set in a different time period.

The Wolf of Wall Street opens on November 15. Tie-ins in trade paperback (RH/Bantam) and audio (RH Audio; read by Bobby Cannavale) will be released in early October. The original trade paperback edition is still available.

Catching the WolfFor those who want even more, Belfort wrote a followup, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison, which is still available in trade paperback (RH/Bantam).

Backlist Best Seller: THE DOG LIVED (AND SO WILL I)

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The Dog LivedThe latest title to hit best seller lists as a result of flash sales by eBook retailers is Teresa Rhyne’s cancer memoir, The Dog Lived (and So Will I)(Sourcebooks, Oct., 2012). It debuts on the new USA Today list at #10, after Kindle and Nook editions were discounted from $14.99 to $1.99.

As the top Nonfiction eBook on the list, it is likely to debut at #1 on the upcoming NYT E-Book Nonfiction list.

The book received strong prepub reviews. Libraries own it in both print and eBook editions.

Backup Singers in the Spotlight

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

My Name Is LoveA new documentary about rock ‘n’ roll backup singers, 20 Feet From Stardom features previously “unsung heroes.” One of them, Darlene Love, ended up so far from stardom that she had to clean houses for a living (she eventually won a law suit against Phil Spector for unpaid royalties and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011).

Love is scheduled to appear on several shows this week to promote the film, including The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and The Today Show. Her 1998 memoir, My Name Is Love, was released last week in trade paperback (HarperCollins/Morrow). Booklist called it “wonderfully informative, with a scintillating soupcon of salaciousnes” and PW said Love’s “sardonic observations border on the hilarious.”

Love appears in the documentary’s trailer.

Stewart Begins Work On Film Based On A Book

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

John Oliver began his stint as host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, replacing Stewart, who is on hiatus from the show to direct a movie.

The film is based on one of the many books Stewart has featured on the show, Maziar Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me, (Random House, 2011), about the author’s imprisonment in Iran. The film, titled Rosewater after the nickname of one of Bahari’s captors, stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, whose previous credits include playing Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries.
Below is Stewart’s 2011 interview with Bahari, in which he announces that they are working on the film.

The Daily Show – Exclusive – Maziar Bahari Extended Interview Pt. 1

Below, Stewart gives more background on the project as he signs off for the summer:


Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

FairylandFairyland, the title of journalist Alysia Abbott‘s memoir, is an ironic comment on her childhood; she was raised in San Francisco in the 1970′s by her gay father, sometimes sharing an apartment with drag queens. Interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, she expressed sympathy for her father, juggling the exhilaration of the newly liberated gay lifestyle in San Francisco while raising a young daughter.

The book is now rising on Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #127, up  from #2,311


Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

EW Behind the Candelabra   Douglas NY Magazine

Images of Michael Douglas as  Liberace in the HBO film, Behind the Candelabra, seem to be everywhere; at the Cannes Film Festival where it premiered yesterday, on magazine covers and in reviews (even in BusinessWeek). American audiences will get their first look at the movie on HBO on May 26.

B1191_BehindCandelabra_L-1Yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed the director, Steven Soderbergh on NPR’s Fresh Air. He says he had long wanted to do a movie about Liberace, but it wasn’t until a friend recommended the 1988 book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, by the pianist’s lover, Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon) that he was able to go forward. “When I read that book, it sort of solved all my problems. It gave me a specific time period to deal with; there was the arc of the relationship between the two of them to give me a structure. And that’s when things really started to move.”

Tantor Media re-released the out-of-print title recently, with a new afterword by Thorson, as part of the launch of their new book imprint.  Tantor has also released an audio version, narrated by Peter Berkrot (sample here, about the media circus around Liberace’s death of AIDs). An interview with Thorson is featured on Tantor’s web site. He says he hasn’t seen the movie and will see it as everyone else does when it debuts this Sunday on HBO.

Real Nurse Jackies

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

I wasn't that strongCurrently at #19 on Amazon sales rankings and rising is an anthology of essays by nurses, I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse, published by the small press, In Fact Books, which also publishes the quarterly magazine, Creative Nonfiction.

It is reviewed in the NYT today by Jane Gross who admits that, as the daughter of a nurse, she is “hardly a disinterested reviewer,” which is a good thing, giving her the ability to connect readers with the stories.

Many libraries own this anthology in modest quantities; Booklist reviewed it, saying, “It’s easy to love these empathetic people, and their beautifully written stories.”