Archive for the ‘Politics and Current Events’ Category

Yiannopoulos Book Deal Canceled

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Self-styled “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos has finally gone too far. His book DANGEROUS (S&S/Threshold Editions; S&S Audio), originally announced for release on March 14, then delayed to June 13, has now been canceled by publisher Simon and Schuster because, reports the NYT, of the release of a “video in which he condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.” Further, states the story, he may lose his position as Senior Editor at Breitbart News.

That doesn’t mean the book will not be published. Yiannopoulos can now shop the book to other publishers.

Roxane Gay, who canceled her contract for future books with Simon and Schuster in protest over the Yiannopoulos book, released a statement that the move does not change her position.

Yiannopoulos Book Delayed

Friday, February 17th, 2017

9781501173080_e3f72The Breitbart News editor who was banned from Twitter for harassment and calls himself “The most fabulous supervillain on the internet,” is delaying his controversial new book DANGEROUS (S&S/Threshold Editions; S&S Audio), pushing the pub. date back from its original March 14 to June 13.

USA Today reports he has asked publisher for more time so he can include recent events in the book, including the violent protests against his planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley, which was then cancelled. 

Reactions to the book have been highly charged. Roxane Gay pulled her forthcoming book with the publisher saying “I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo.”

As USA Today characterizes it, S&S president Carolyn Reidy “felt compelled to send a letter to concerned authors, which read in part: ‘First and foremost, I want to make clear that we do not support or condone, nor will we publish, hate speech.’”

Yiannopoulos told The Hollywood Reporter, “I met with top execs at Simon & Schuster earlier in the year and spent half an hour trying to shock them with lewd jokes and outrageous opinions. I thought they were going to have me escorted from the building — but instead they offered me a wheelbarrow full of money.”

Bill Maher has booked Yiannopoulos on his show for tonight, causing The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill to cancel his own appearance and forcing Maher to defend his actions, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Yiannopoulos has a large social media following and is a master at creating his own PR. His initial book announcement sent the title soaring on Amazon but it has since fallen sharply, although it remains in the top 50 sellers based on pre-orders. Despite his full court press, few know much about the book. USA Today offers a list of what is known, including that S&S won’t talk about the content and “respectfully declined” a request for more details. Libraries are showing low holds ratios.

Elizabeth Warren Will Not Be Silenced

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

9781250120625Drawing attention to a Senate vote this week to force her to stop talking, Elizabeth Warren announces that she will publish a new book, due April 18, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books).

The Associated Press reports “It will offer a mini-history of the American middle class, from the New Deal of the 1930s to what the publisher calls President Donald Trump’s ‘phony promises’ that endanger it now.”

It will also include, says the publisher, “eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick.”

As Fortune points out, potential presidential candidates “often write books about their experiences to burnish their credentials prior to a presidential run. Former President Barack Obama wrote Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote Hard Choices in 2014.” All were bestsellers.

Warren has written other books, including her 2014 title, A Fighting Chance, which became a bestseller.

American Microcosm

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

9781250085801_3099aCalled by Laura Miller of Slate part of “a new and still fairly accidental genre: the on-the-ground Trump explainer,” Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town by Brian Alexander (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; OverDrive Sample) jumped into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings today.  

Yesterday, Alexander was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air about his book on Lancaster, Ohio and the Anchor Hocking glass factory which powered the city through the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He explains that the wives of the company’s executives “threw themselves into the town … they made sure the sidewalks got repaired, the streets got paved, they attended city council meetings. This was a core of civic leadership.”

Then, in the 1980s, Carl Icahn began a highly profitable move to extract money from the company. As a result, details Alexander, it eventually suffered a hostile takeover. The first thing the new owners did was “fire all of the executives and close down the headquarters … So you’ve taken away the executives, you’ve taken away their wives, their families. … [It was] devastating for the town.”

Miller calls the book part of a genre of nonfiction “illuminating the desperation driving white small-town Americans, as told by a native son. The vanguard title in this pack is J.D. Vance’s surprise success Hillbilly Elegy.”

Glass House she says “is less personal, less tortured, a work of journalism far more willing to indict … This book hunts bigger game … [it] reads like an odd—and oddly satisfying—fusion of George Packer’s The Unwinding and one of Michael Lewis’ real-life financial thrillers.”

The Trump Bump Continues

Monday, February 6th, 2017

fred-douglas best-brightest

Donald Trump may have read fewer books than he has written, but, as we’ve noted before, his administration is having an effect on book sales.  Frederick Douglass’s autobiography got a boost after Trump lauded him this week (although, based on his comments, some question if he has a firm handle on who Douglass was). The number of titles is growing so rapidly that Lit Hub has begun a running list, which includes the Constitution

Trump is not the only one in the administration having an effect on sales. As we noted earlier, a NYT report that Trump senior advisor Bannon assigned David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest to everyone in the cabinet because it shows “how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later,” caused that book to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings.

There’s no word on whether Trump is reading it.

Cautionary Tale

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Time cover BannonFrom Saturday Night Live‘s opening skit last night, where he is portrayed as the Grim Reaper, to the cover of Time magazine, where he is called “The Great Manipulator,” Trump’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has been all over the media.

He also happens to be behind the current rise of a book on Amazon sales rankings, The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s 1972 examination, republished by PRH/Ballantine in 1993, of how, despite having some of the best minds in the country in the cabinet, the Kennedy administration got the country into the Vietnam War.

In a story in the NYT today, sports reporter Marc Tracy writes that, shortly after Christmas, he spotted Bannon carrying the book in an airport and asked if he was reading it. He replied that he’d assigned it to “everyone” on the transition team and that “It’s great for seeing how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later.”

As Tracy concludes, it’s difficult to know if Bannon puts his latest moves into the category of “little mistakes.”

Supreme Court Nominee’s Book Rising

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

9780691140971In a high-profile prime-time announcement last night, Donald Trump delivered on his promise to nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court, Neil M. Gorsuch. As a result, Gorsuch’s 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (Princeton University Press) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

As might be expected for a book written primarily for the legal profession, it is widely held in college and law libraries but few public libraries own copies, mostly in ebook format.

In it, Gorsuch argues against laws that allow patients the right to physician-assisted suicide, such as those in Oregon, which gained national attention when Brittany Maynard chose that path. A book on her story was published late last year.

The Washington Post writes of the Gorsuch book:

“The front cover looks almost like a Tom Clancy novel, with purple all-caps block text set against a black background. But the book itself is a deep, highly cerebral overview of the ethical and legal debate surrounding the practices. In it, Gorsuch reveals that he firmly opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia … “

Death of a Spy

Friday, January 27th, 2017

9781101973998_d801aThe author of a true-life espionage tale about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian secret service officer and enemy of Putin, Luke Harding was the guest on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He discussed his book on the subject, A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin’s War with the West (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Due to his reporting on the murder while he was the Moscow bureau chief for The Guardian, Harding was expelled from Russia.

He has also written about Edward Snowden (The Snowden Files) and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy). Both books were sources for films, Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone, and The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange.

The book is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings today, skyrocketing from #116,292 to just outside the top 100. Libraries have been slow to order, or have bought in low numbers, perhaps due to a lack of pre-pub reviews.

The full interview also addresses possible Russian hacking of the US Presidential election, fake news, and Putin’s end game.

Setting the Agenda

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

9781630060879_ae04aTimed to the inauguration, Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America by David Horowitz (Humanix Books; Dreamscape Media; OverDrive Sample), published today, is has been rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, quickly moving from outside the top 100 to its current position at #66.

Author Horowitz is the founder of the conservative Freedom Center. His book is being promoted on the Breitbart site where he is a contributor. Today, he tweeted that he is set to appear on several radio shows and on Fox News Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Horowitz’s name came up during recent confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions was questioned about accepting an award from Horowitz’s foundation.

Despite the book’s subtitle, this is not Trump’s plan, which he outlined in a speech in November and on his Web site, but Horowitz’s views on what the plan should be. Fellow conservative pundits are backing the book. Rush Limbaugh calls it “a road map for a winning agenda that conservatives will embrace.” Ann Coulter recommends it as a “brilliant battle plan.”

There were no pre-pub reviews and orders are low across the country.

Explaining America

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Face The Nation hosted a panel of authors on its New Year’s Day episode, illustrating how the news media is turning to books to talk about the divisions within the country.

9780679763888_272bc  Hillbilly Elegy  9781627795272_80c35  9781501159503_db1ac

Four authors took part in the discussion, Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (RH/Vintage, 2011; OverDrive Sample), J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), actor and author Diane Guerrero, who wrote In the Country We Love: My Family Divided (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample), and Amani Al- Khatahthbeh, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age (S&S; OverDrive Sample).

Host John Dickerson opened the segment by saying “We’ve gathered four authors who’ve written about the many faces of America, about the differences that divide us, as well as the common experiences that can unite us as one.”

In the personal and heartfelt discussion, Vance, who has been the focus of much of the media’s attempt to explain the anger of many among the white working class and has become a contributing opinion writer for the NYT, says:

“[what] really ties us together is something aspirational about being an American. Right? So whether you’re a black American moving from the rural South or from South America or from an Islamic country, like, whether it’s our parents, our grandparents or even further back, it’s this idea that we want something better for our kids than we have right now … That we’re going to keep getting better. Things are going to keep on improving. And I think, frankly, a lot of the problems we have in our politics are in some ways rooted in different groups thinking that things aren’t continuing to get better. I think that pessimism, that cynicism, is a real problem in our politics and our society more broadly.”

Isabel Wilkerson says “we talk a lot about diversity, but I think we should talk more about commonality. I think we’re very aware of the things that make us different. I don’t think we realize enough what makes us the same and what makes us– our hearts beat the same and the things that we want are so similar.”

The Warmth of Other Suns is rising on Amazon, jumping from #1,226 to #96. Hillbilly Elegy is already at #4. The other two books are farther down (Guerrero at #503 and Al- Khatahthbeh at #787).

In the News: PRIVATE EMPIRE

Friday, December 16th, 2016

9780143123545The 2012 NYT Bestseller, Steve Coll’s Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is earning a second readership now that Donald Trump has nominated the CEO of that global company, Rex Tillerson, to be Secretary of State.

The book is moving up Amazon’s charts, to land just outside the Top 100 (it is currently #107, up from #2,064) and is temporarily out of stock in paperback at Amazon. The hardcover is selling for almost a hundred dollars a copy, used.

Coll, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist. His book received favorable reviews when it debuted.

In his review in the NYBR, Adam Hochschild compared Exxon to the East India Company, and wrote Coll’s book provides:

“a picture of a corporation so large and powerful — operating in some 200 nations and territories — that it really has its own foreign policy … Exxon Mobil has its own armies — and, in these days of outsourcing, also hires those of others … the book assuredly does what it sets out to do: show the inner workings of one of the Western world’s most significant concentrations of unelected power.”

Coll is currently in the news again. He published a story in The New Yorker, and has recently been on PBS’s Newshour and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Holds are strong in a few libraries, steady in others.

The Post-Election Book Rush

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Publishers are hurrying to get books out in the aftermath of the election, reports PW. At least three new titles are already in the works, each focused on how progressives can respond to the Trump presidency.

In a very fast turn-around, two will be released before Inauguration Day:

img_1529-3-572x402What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America, ed. by Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians (Melville House) continues a tradition for the indie publisher. Melville also issued as similar work following the election of George W. Bush. The essay collection includes pieces from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Gloria Steinem, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and others. Edited by the publisher Dennis Johnson, it offers advice on what upset voters can do during the next four years.

9780062686480_c22e8The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen, Gene Stone (HC/Dey Street Books). Quoting the book’s editor, PW reports it is “aimed at people looking for answers and ways to mobilize following Trump’s victory. In the book, Stone gives a background on the different issues that are at stake over the next four years and provides lists of organizations and resources for promoting progressive action.”

Also in the works  is another collection of essays,  Radical Hope (PRH/Vintage), which the editor says are “socially conscious love letters in the tradition of ‘My Dungeon Shook,’ the first essay in James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time.” It does not yet have a release date but is expected in early 2017.

Already signed up are several political books set to make noise in 2017, as PW reports in their Spring Adult Announcements issue (Children’s Announcements are coming Jan 30).Their picks include:

 9780802126191_ef27f  9780691175515_f6bf7

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, Condoleezza Rice (Hachette/Twelve, May 2.)

How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016, P. J. O’Rourke (Atlantic Monthly Press, Mar. 7)

How Liberty Can Change the World, Gary E. Johnson (HC/Broadside, June 13)

#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Cass R. Sunstein (Princeton Univ., Mar. 28)

 

Kelly and Sanders
Prove Politics Sells

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780062494603_df2feThe Fox News host and political touchstone Megyn Kelly lands at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list this week with her memoir Settle for More (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

The book got a boost beyond her own built-in audience with the news that she writes about Donald Trump’s bribery attempt to bribe her as well as others in the press. As we have written previously, Vanity Fair‘s headline on the story asserts, that, by holding this information until after the election, Kelly “Blew The Goodwill She’s Built,” as an “improbable feminist icon” and one of the strongest voices standing up to Trump during the election.

Adding to the publicity, USA Today reports that Amazon has deleted “several politically motivated negative reviews … after a flood of one-star ratings drew media attention.” Writing that “This scary phenomenon essentially means that a small, angry, vocal group can flood a space with fringe views that masquerade as majority opinion,” Slate reports that “a whopping 76 percent of the [reviews] were one-star.”

9781250132925_2fc19On Kelly’s heels is the new political call to arms from Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Macmillan Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). It debuts at #3.

The Wall Street Journal writes that both books are selling, reporting that “In the first six days on bookstore shelves, Ms. Kelly’s memoir sold 64,000 copies, while former Democratic presidential contender Sen. Sanders’s book sold 45,000 copies.” The article goes on quote Sanders’s publisher as saying “He’s been waiting nearly his entire life to give this message to huge audiences … Happily, they’re buying books.” As for Kelly, one independent book store owner told the paper, “People are interested in her book because she was right in the middle of everything.”

Black Deaths Matter

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

9780316312479_e13eeGrabbing media attention, They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), is a debut book by Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, part of a team who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for WP‘s coverage of police shootings.

The NYT review says it is “electric,” in part “because it is so well reported, so plainly told and so evidently the work of a man who has not grown a callus on his heart.”

It is a book, says the paper, with “a warm, human tone” that details the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray; explores racial conditions, in the wake of all the police shootings and the Barack Obama’s presidency; and introduces “a new generation of black activists” and the black reporters who cover them and the events they are protesting.

Lowery was on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday talking, in part, about the implications of the election:

“One thing that was remarkable about the election of President Obama was that he did so with a rhetoric and with an ideal that we were not a divided America. It’s fundamental to his ideology of American exceptionalism. What’s been remarkable is that Donald Trump ran on an ideology and a platform that we are in fact a divided America, that there is an us vs. them, that we need to take something back from people who have seized it from us.”

Expect more attention. It is on multiple most anticipated lists including New York Magazine‘s and is getting coverage in newspapers from coast to coast, including the Boston Globe (subscription may be required), Chicago Tribune, which calls it a “behind-the-scenes narrative” of the “black death beat,” and the Seattle Times. Even other countries are taking notice, such as Macleans in Canada and the BBC in the UK.

Holds Alert: OUR REVOLUTION

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Bernie SandersSenator Bernie Sanders’s book, releasing today, is #1 on Amazon and is racking up holds in libraries, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Macmillan Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample),

Holds ratios are topping 5:1 in libraries that have ordered copies while others have yet to place orders, perhaps due to a lack of pre-pub reviews. Sanders, who is emerging as the leader of the Trump opposition, is getting high profile media coverage, which is driving sales and holds.

He was on CBS This Morning yesterday and his appearance there is currently the #1 trending video on YouTube:

He also sat down with Stephen Colbert last night (the full interview spans two clips):

NPR’s All Things Considered featured Sanders as well (see below for audio). He has also recently been on The View, Face the Nation, and many other network and cable news shows.

As we wrote earlier, the book recounts Sanders’ primary fight and offers a call to arms to continue his revolution.