Archive for the ‘Politics and Current Events’ Category

Obama’s Political Philosopher on THE DAILY SHOW

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

It’s become commonplace for us to write that Jon Stewart has featured on The Daily Show the author of some heavy-duty book on an important topic, which then flies up best seller lists. Sadly, Stewart announced last night that he is leaving the show possibly in September when his contract is up, but it “might be July, or December,” because “this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host.”

Before Stewart, who would have imagined serious conversations with authors presented in the context of a comedy show? Not only did he introduce that concept and make it work, he continued it in another show he produced, The Colbert Report. Thanks, Jon Stewart, for giving books the attention they deserve. You never seem restless when you are engaging authors, whether you agree with their points of view or not.

True to form, Stewart featured a 2-part interview with President Obama’s campaign manager and “political philosopher,” David Axelrod on the same show. As a result, the book, which had already received a boost from a feature on CBS Sunday Morning, rose from #139 to #28 on Amazon sales rankings.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 9.15.06 AM

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics (Penguin; OverDrive Sample) details Axelrod’s relationship with Obama as well as his Senate and Presidential campaigns, but he also shares stories of other politicians and his belief in the kind of politics that serves the nation best. In an interview with the New York Magazine he says “I didn’t want to write a book that would be measured by the number of revelations in Politico … I wanted to write a narrative, a story about my life, through my eyes, through the evolution of politics in our country.”

It’s somewhat of an irony then that Politico leaked a story from the embargoed book that “Mitt Romney ‘12 concession call ‘irritated’ Barack Obama” which brought a swift response from the Romney camp that the call never happened. And now news sources are jumping on evidence in the book that Obama was lying when he initially said he opposed gay marriage.

For the most part, however, as David Gergen puts it in his New York Time’s review, “David Axelrod has written a highly readable, uplifting account of the candidate he loves — and, reassuringly, has shown politics can still be a calling, not a business.”

Read Like Zuckerberg, Book Three

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

glforadayThe next pick in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s fast-paced book club is:

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, Sudhir Venkatesh (Penguin Press, 2008; HarperCollins Audio; Overdrive Sample)

The book was widely discussed when it was published and hit the extended NYT best seller list for one week in hardcover.  NY Times review.

Previous A Year of Books picks:

The Better Angels of Our NatureWhy Violence Has Declined, Steven Pinker, (Penguin/Viking, 2011)

The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used To Be, Moises Naim, (Perseus/Basic Books, 2013)

New Book On China Roars on Amazon

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 10.10.42 AM

Currently the fifth best selling book on Amazon has been on the rise for the last two days, The Hundred-Year Marathon (Macmillan/Holt; OverDrive Sample, Feb. 3), by Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow at the conservative think tank, the Hudson Institute. It asserts that China has followed a long-standing policy to overtake the US as the world’s superpower.  The Washington Times summaries the book’s thesis that China, following a “secret strategy, based on ancient Chinese statecraft, produced a large-scale transfer of cash, technology and expertise that bolstered military and Communist Party ‘superhawks’ in China who are now taking steps to catch up to and ultimately surpass the United States.”

Media attention from The Christian Science Monitor, (in a story that doesn’t agree with all the author’s points, but says they “deserve to be widely debated”) to the conservative Weekly Standard and  The Washington Times, helped fuel the book’s rise.

Holds in libraries are currently light, however.

Holds Alert: GHETTOSIDE

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

On the Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart introduced his guest, journalist Jill Leovy by calling her book, Ghettoside (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample), an “incredibly gripping true crime story.” Leovy went on to show that the story is about much more than one murder.

Holds in libraries are now heavy on modest orders.

A Two-Author Week on Jon Stewart

Monday, January 26th, 2015

After a several weeks of an author drought, The Daily Show ramps up its book coverage with two authors appearing this week: Jill Leovy, on Tuesday, and Sarah Chayes on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.11.33 PMAs we reported last week, Leovy’s Ghettoside (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample), a gripping journalistic investigation into the murder of a young black man in Los Angeles, is getting strong coverage in The New York Times and on NPR. The author’s appearance with Stewart should bring her to the attention of an even wider readership. Holdings and holds vary across the country with some libraries yet to buy, some with light holds, and others with holds as high as 11:1. Fair warning: Ghettoside seems destined to be an important book on an important conversation that will continue for years to come. As The New York Times put it in their Sunday cover, “Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights — and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter,’ showing how the ‘system’s failure to catch killers effectively made black lives cheap.’”

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.10.47 PMSarah Chayes’s Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, (W. W. Norton) has gotten far less media attention although NPR’s All Things Considered did a story on Jan. 16th and The Washington Post gave the book a generally favorable review on the same day. Holds are light in libraries we checked, but Stewart can be relied upon to create at least a short-term bump in demand. Certainly Chayes’s book, which identifies corruption as the link between a number of political hotspots spiraling out of control, provides Stewart with a wind-up pitch he can hit out of the park.

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

Panetta Tells Former Boss What
He’s Doing Wrong

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

9781594205965_aced1Former defense Secretary Leon Panetta criticizes President Obama in his new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace (Penguin Press; Penguin Audio). He explains why in an interview with Charlie Rose on today’s CBS This Morning. He was also interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Morning Edition and is scheduled for the Daily Show tonight.

On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly worked hard to get him to criticize Hillary Clinton’s handling of Benghazi. Panetta responded that, as head of the Defense Department, he was not familiar with the inner workings of the State Department, but could say, “If I know Hillary Clinton, if she knew there was a problem at Benghazi, she would have done something about it.’

The book is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings and is currently at #14. Libraries are showing holds on light ordering.

FACTORY MAN Headed to HBO

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

9780316231435_f1fc7Beth Macy’s nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15), which received media attention when it was published this summer, is being developed by Tom Hanks’s production company, Playtone, for an HBO mini-series, reports Deadline.

The book’s subtitle outlines the story, How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local–And Helped Save An American Town. It received strong support from the NYT‘s Janet Maslin, who called it “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.”  The author was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air in July (read the first three chapters via OverDrive).

The book debuted at #10 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-fiction Best Sellers list during its first week on sale, remained on the main list for 3 weeks, and continued on the extended list for 4 more weeks.

Playtone is also producing the upcoming Olive Kitteridge miniseries for HBO, to debut Nov. 2, and is set to begin production on another mini series adaptation, based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book about Lewis and Clark, Undaunted Courage, (S&S, 1997), with Casey Affleck in the role of  Meriwether Lewis.

More On SOLDIER GIRLS

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

9781451668100_c7622As we noted earlier, media attention has been growing for a book that follows the experiences of three women in the military, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, by Helen Thorpe (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio). Today, the daily New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, adds her voice,  calling it “compelling” and saying Thorpe “gives us a dynamic understanding of what it’s been like for Guard members who unexpectedly found themselves shipped off to the front lines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, their lives and plans disrupted, their families thrown into disarray.”

It will also  be available in audio from Dreamscape on Sept. 2 (audio download on OverDrive).

In the Media: SOLDIER GIRLS

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Helen Thorpe’s new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio), released last Tuesday, examines an under-covered story, women in the military, by following three women who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The book has received a wide range of attention. It’s People magazine’s latest  “Book of the Week,” and is covered in the 8/10 NYT Book Review, among other publications

The author was interviewed in Elle magazine, on yesterday’s Weekend Edition, as well as on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Several libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

Greenwald Continues to Make News

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

No Place to HideWhen interviewed on the Colbert Report, about his new book  No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State(Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio; May 13), Glenn Greenwald said he was working on a story he believed would have even more impact than his previous reporting as it would reveal who the NSA has been spying on.

That story was published this morning on Greenwald’s news site, The Intercept, and, as expected, is being picked up widely (see ABC news story below).


ABC News | ABC Sports News

Greenwald’s book moved to #23 on last week’s  NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list, after being in the top ten for 4 weeks (with a high of #5). It’s still on hold in many libraries.

FACTORY MAN — In a Class with SEABISCUIT

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

9780316231435_f1fc7Already having declared her love for Beth Macy’s nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15), in her summer previewNYT‘s daily reviewer, Janet Maslin, gave it a full review just before the holiday.

Her opinion is not dimmed. Saying this book, subtitled, How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — And Helped Save An American Town, is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.”

She also notes that, since the book is published by Hachette, it is another victim of  the Amazon/Hachette battle and will not be available for purchase on Amazon until pub date or on Kindle,  but ” it’s worth the trouble to read what will be one of the best, and surely most talked about, books of 2014.”

Comedy Central’s Book Bumps

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Stephen Colbert continued his public fight against Amazon on Friday, saying the company’s “scorched-earth tactics” against publisher Hachette, have resulted in “more people getting screwed than in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

California BumpCalifornia Bump

In an earlier show, he noted that Amazon’s disabling of the pre-order functions for Hachette titles is particularly hard on first-time authors, so he enlisted viewers to buy Edan Lepucki’s debut novel California (Hachette/Little,Brown), which is also a LibraryReads pick, via Powells. As of Friday, over 6,400 copies had been pre-ordered. Now he is urging viewers to make it a New York Times best-seller by continuing to pre-order copies through Powell’s and other independent booksellers.

Other Titles Getting The Bump

Sons of Wichita  Redeeming the Dream  The Confidence Code

Fellow Comedy Central host, Jon Stewart, who is also published by Hachette/Grand Central, has not formally joined the fight, but he will give a bump to another Hachette title tonight on The Daily Show, by interviewing Daniel Schulman, author of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (Hachette/Grand Central).

Also tonight, Colbert will feature a title from Penguin Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality David Boies, Theodore B. Olson, (Penguin/Viking).

And on Wednesday, Colbert will interview Katty Kay and Claire Shipman co-authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, (HarperBusiness).

Oliver Stone To Film Snowden Story

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

No Place to Hide   Snowden Files

Sony’s movie version of Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio) now has competition. Oliver Stone just announced plans to film another book on the story, Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, (RH/Vintage), published as an original trade paperback in the U.S. in February.

There’s a rivalry between the books’ authors as well. Greenwald worked for The Guardian when he broke his stories about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance on private citizens. After he left to co-found The Intercept, Harding,  one of The Guardian’s  foreign correspondents, published The Snowden Files. In an interview in the Financial Times, Greenwald dismissed it as a “bullshit book … written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden.

In the New York Times, Michikio Kakutani saw movie potential in Harding’s book, calling it “a fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative that is part bildungsroman and part cinematic thriller.” She also reviewed Greenwald’s book, mostly favorably, but objected to his portrayal of  “the establishment media,” and its “glaring subservience to political power.”

Stone plans to begin shooting before the end of the year. In an interview last year, the director told The Guardian (which is cooperating with him on the film), “To me, Snowden is a hero. He revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment.”

Even More, NO PLACE TO HIDE

Monday, May 19th, 2014

NewImage.pngMedia focus has been heavy on Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio), propelling it up Amazon sales rankings (it’s currently at #14).

More attention may be coming, in the form of a movie. Sony has optioned rights. Many have noted the book reads like a spy novel. Appropriately, Sony is planning to produce the movie with the team behind the recent James Bond movies.

In addition to earlier appearances on the Today Show, The Colbert Report (where he said he is working on an even more explosive story on the NSA), and NPR’s Fresh Air, Greenwald appeared on Fox News today.