Archive for the ‘Politics and Current Events’ Category

A Different Kind of Author Tour

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Bestselling author JD Vance and AOL co-founder Steve Case will travel together this fall reports USA Today, on the next wave of the Rise of the Rest program, a “campaign to drum up interest in tech start-ups not based in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, Seattle and other coastal tech hubs.”

This is the fourth year of the project dreamed up by Case, although it is the first for Vance. After a whirlwind visit and a series of pitch meetings, Case invests $100,000 in one local start-up. Thus far he has visited 26 cities.

“The data is the data and last year the (National Venture Capital Association) said that 75% of venture capital went to just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts,” Case told the paper. His venture capital firm started the Rise of the Rest program to help correct that by identifying and supporting start-ups across the Rust Belt and Midwest.

Vance’s bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) is currently #7 on the NYT Hardback Nonfiction list after 47 straight weeks. Film rights have been acquired as well. The memoir arrived as the presidential campaign was heating up. The media embraced Vance’s sympathetic portrait of life in the Rust Belt as an explanation for the deep divides that drove the election.

DANGEROUS Leaked

Friday, June 16th, 2017

The book world has its own group of leakers. BuzzFeed News obtained a draft of Milo Yiannopoulos’s Dangerous as it was submitted to Simon and Schuster in January before the project was cancelled.

Yiannopoulos is now self-publishing the title, due out on July 4, but BuzzFeed says readers should not bother, calling it “terrible… no good by any measure … a staggering failure … To begin with, there is little news in the Dangerous draft, unless you believe the specifics of Yiannopoulos’s beauty regimen to be newsworthy.”

They also say that Yiannopoulos is clearly past his sell by date, concluding “Who cares if some English carpetbagger says mean things on the internet? The United States has bigger things to worry about than Milo Yiannopoulos now.”

Few libraries we checked had ordered copies. It has fallen from its #2 placement on Amazon to #94.

Behind Terrorist Lines

Monday, June 12th, 2017

I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon after the author was interviewed on CBS This Morning.

Mekhennet, a national security correspondent for The Washington Post is also interviewed in the NYTdescribing her book in ways sure to bring in readers:

“A combination of memoir and reportage, this book gives the reader unique access behind the lines of jihad. This is a book to understand what drives people into the hands of recruiters, and the nature of the threat that is facing the West today.”

Getting to YES

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Author and activist Naomi Klein appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today to talk about her new book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Consortium Book Sales/Haymarket Books; OverDrive Sample).

It leaped on Amazon’s rankings as a result, moving from #98 to #36.

Taking a cue from the UK election, she says what helped Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party do so well and gain so many seats was that “he came out with a bold manifesto speaking to [voters’] better selves. He lead with ideas and that gave people hope.” She says the Democrats are missing a “tangible offer of how [they] are going to fix” what is wrong.

The new buzz adds to positive coverage in The Guardian and The Globe and Mail.

Driving While Female

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Terry Gross talks to author Manal al-Sharif on Fresh Air about restrictions on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Sharif has just written Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening (S&S; S&S Audio).

She was filmed while breaking a long held prohibition on women driving. The video went viral, leading to her arrest and was only released after worldwide protests. She has since moved to Australia.

Saudi women are assigned to a male guardian, she says, who must give permission for almost anything, including leaving the house. As women grow older, their guardianship simply changes from one man to another. It’s no wonder she wanted to tell Ivanka Trump to “just be quiet” when she praised Saudi for their progress on equal rights, while women sit in jail for trying to further those rights.

LJ gives it a starred review, writing it is “a striking, nuanced memoir of what it means to ‘drive while female’.”

CALLED TO RISE Gets Press

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown riveted the nation with his humane response to the mass police shootings in his city last July.

Brown’s memoir, Called to Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is getting strong media attention.

NPR’s All Things Considers has an interview in which he reflects on the lessons of his life and says the solution to the nation’s problems is “not yelling and screaming, but ‘let’s sit down and listen to each other and invite someone home for dinner.'” A notable touchstone from his own life occurred when a white student in his newly integrated grade school invited him home for dinner.

On The View he talks about people working together for a common aim, putting skin in the game if you want things to change, and the police officers who are not suited to do the job.

Brown has appeared on other ABC shows, including Good Morning America and Nightline. In November 2016, as he retired from the police force, Brown became an ABC News contributor. He has also been on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Fox & Friends, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

To Shelves After All: DANGEROUS Gets a Pub Date

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

In the wake of his lost book deal, the self-styled right-wing “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos is self-publishing his book Dangerous. It is due out on July 4 as a hardcover and an ebook.

It is listed on Amazon where it instantly became a best seller and is currently at #2. In typical fashion, Yiannopoulos claims it is “the most controversial book of the decade.” The cover is now the banner on his facebook site where over 2 million have liked his page.

Simon and Schuster cancelled the book deal in February when, as the NYT reported, a video was released in which Yiannopoulos “condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.” He also lost his position as Senior Editor at Breitbart News in the uproar.

The self-publishing route had been predicted by book insiders according to EW, with one publisher telling the magazine, “with the hoopla around this book that might frighten a traditional publisher, I think if he wants it out, he’ll have to do it himself. He’s a marketing machine, albeit a negative publicity machine. But the question is: Will booksellers carry it?”

That remains an open question. Publishers Weekly reports that it is “unclear if Yiannopoulus has found a distributor to get the print edition of the book into brick and mortar retailers.”

Order Alert: DREAM HOARDERS

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

An interview on NPR’s Morning Edition has sent Richard Reeves’s forthcoming book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It (Brookings Institution Press, June 13), soaring on Amazon. It is now ranked #27, up from a lowly #53,949.

The episode is part of the show’s “The History of Our Time” series. Steve Inskeep describes the series as investigating, the big trends “driving our history.” He interviews Reeves who says that the upper-middle class, those making six figure incomes and above, dominate the best schools, live in the best homes, and pass on the best futures to their children, at the cost of everyone else.

He calls this “opportunity hoarding.”

Reeves, now an American citizen but originally from the U.K., contends that the American class system is even worse than the system of royalty that rules his birth country. In the UK, they make no bones about the privileges of the aristocracy while in the US, we “have a class system that operates every bit as ruthlessly as the British class system but under the veneer of classless meritocracy. There isn’t even a self awareness.”

In the end, Reeves says, the upper-middle class have created a dangerous separation of themselves from the rest of society and that divide is ruinous, “They are also disproportionately powerful and the fact that they are not only separate but unaware of the degree to which the system works in their favor strikes me as one of the most dangerous political facts of our time.”

The book was not reviewed prepub and many libraries have not yet to ordered copies.

Possible TV Series: SHATTERED

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bOne of the autopsies of the 2016 election might be made into a limited TV series reports the NYT.

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) has been optioned by Sony’s TriStar Television.

The paper says it has become “a mainstay in dinner-party chatter in political circles since its publication.” In library circles it is doing well too, as we reported earlier, holds soared on light ordering.

It hit the  NYT  Hardcover Nonfiction list at #1 last week, slipping to #2 this week, displaced by Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B

The daily NYT‘s chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling”and The Globe and Mail writes that the authors “may be credited with banging the first hot-tipped galvanized spiral-shank nail into her historical coffin … [it is] an unfavourable – no, an unforgiving – look inside the Clinton presidential campaign of 2016.” Staff from the Clinton campaign are pushing back.

Deadline Hollywood reports that this would make the fourth TV project focused on the election. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann have a project with HBO. Annapurna and Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty) have one in the works they are keeping under wraps, saying only it will be “Trump-centric.” Tomorrow Studios is making what they hope will become an ongoing series, called Trump: It Happened Here.

The NYT says of this newest project that no writers or stars have been chosen for the project and a network “is not yet attached.”

SHATTERED Soars To Bestseller Status

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bThe news media is focused on Trump’s first 100 days, but it seems people still want to know about the campaigns that preceded it. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) hits the new USA Today bestseller list at number 3.

Library holds have grown dramatically since the book’s publication date, increasing ratios at impressive rates, albeit on cautious ordering. One library we checked has moved from a ratio of 1:1 to 53:1. Another jumped from 6:1 to 42:1.

As we noted earlier, NYT chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in Shattered— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

9781250120618_caadfA potential future female presidential candidate also debuts on the list. Landing at No. 8  is This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). She tells the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief, Susan Page, “The direction that Donald Trump and his team want to drive this country is a direction that I don’t think America’s middle class can survive.”

The authors of both books have been making the media rounds.

White House Insider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

9781455588220_ced4bTerry Gross interviewed Alyssa Mastromonaco yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air, sending her memoir Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House (Hachette/Twelve; OverDrive Sample) into Amazon’s Top 50, currently at $37.

President Obama’s deputy chief of staff for operations. Mastromonaco shares insider details about his administration, often in contrast with Trump’s, including how the president’s personal travel budget works, the threats that face presidents in the post-9/11 world, and the selection process for Cabinet positions.

Seemingly small details underscore that women are still newcomers in the world of politics, such as the lack of women’s bathrooms in the West Wing.

The book spent two weeks on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and got attention when it was published last month. People reviewed it, saying it is “brimming with … humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend.” New York Magazine ran an interview, as did USA Today.

Holds remain strong in most libraries we checked, several running at 4:1 and a few others topping 7:1.

SHATTERED Examines the Clinton Campaign

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bHeavy media attention is sending an account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign soaring up the Amazon’s sales rankings to #3, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

In today’s NYT, chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in ‘Shattered’— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

Most other media sources assigned they political reporter to the book.  Having been closer to the campaign on a day-by-day basis, they offer a different take. NPR’s Washington desk correspondent, Ron Elving, says “There is no Big Reveal, no shocking secret answer. Instead we get a slow-building case against the concept and execution of the Clinton campaign, with plenty of fault falling squarely on the candidate herself.”

A Washington Post piece by senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg is even less positive: “the quick-fire version proves too limiting” he says noting there will  “surely be many books about what really happened inside the 2016 campaigns. Going first has its advantages — perhaps in sales and attention.”

Will Shattered be the next Game Change, the best selling analysis of the 2008 campaign by Mark Halperin and John Heinemann? Elving does not think so, saying the personalities involved in that campaign, Obama, John Edwards, John McCain, and Sarah Palin were “more compelling and telegenic, calling out to turn themselves into the TV movie they became,” adding, “Ultimately, Allen and Parnes get inside the campaign but not inside the mind of Hillary Clinton. Much the same seems to have been true for most of her staff and, ultimately, the voters.”

Halperin and Heinemann are working on their own book on the campaign, following up on their successful Showtime series, “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” now in its third season, covering Trump’s first 100 days in office. As yet untitled, the book is expected to be published early next year. HBO has already acquired the rights to it.

Clinton will publish her own memoir in September. Described as a collection of her personal reflections on quotes and stories that have helped her “celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times,” it doesn’t sound like it will delve deeply into the campaign.

There were no prepub reviews for Shattered, indicating it was embargoed, and libraries have ordered it very lightly, with some systems facing 5:1 ratios.

Partisan Politics

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

9780812993523_c1502Rising to #75 on Amazon’s sales rankings today is the book We Do Our Part: Toward a Fairer and More Equal America by Charles Peters (PRH/RH; OverDrive Sample),

On the PBS News Hour last night Peters, a life-long democrat, a founder of the Peace Corps, and the founding editor of the nonprofit political magazine, The Washington Monthly, tells Judy Woodruff the book grew out of his worry that snobbery and greed have split the country. He blames his own party for becoming too involved in making money and too interested in status.

The book has also gotten coverage in the NYT, which calls it “a desperate plea to his country and party to resist the temptations of greed, materialism and elitism — vices he believes have corroded the civic culture and led to the Democrats’ failure last year.” The Atlantic says “it fills in a missing part in our current political discussion.”

Al Gore, TRUTH TO POWER

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

The trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power has been released:

As we posted earlier, the sequel to Gore’s Academy Award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it received a standing ovation. It is now gearing up for its wide release, beginning with the politically pointed trailer.

Variety says the film depicts the “dire consequences of a warming earth — from flooding in Miami and the Philippines, to the worst drought on record in Syria, bringing human suffering there that predated the ongoing civil war, to air pollution so bad in some parts of China that life expectancy has declined by six years.”

A companion book will be published in May, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore (Macmillan/Rodale Books).

The documentary will open in theaters on July 28, 2017.

DARK MONEY Fills The Swamp

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

9780307947901_fddd1Jane Mayer’s 2016 best seller, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; trade paperback; OverDrive Sample) is back in the news, and rising again on Amazon, jumping from #468 to #48, after the author published a new piece for this week’s The New Yorker entitled “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency.”

Mayer was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday about the subjects of the story, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who have “been major backers of Breitbart News and Steve Bannon’s other projects for years, and they were influential in getting Bannon and Kellyanne Conway into leadership positions in the Trump campaign.”

Dark Money was one of The New York Time’10 Best Books of 2016 and is currently a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, which recognizes a “book of extraordinary originality and lasting influence.” The winner of that award will be announced on Monday.

Most libraries we checked still have holds queues.