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Carol Leifer talks life in TV sitcoms, from 'Seinfeld' to 'Devious Maids'

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Veteran TV writer Carol Leifer has tapped her storied Hollywood career as fodder for a new memoir, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. She talks to EW about what it takes to succeed in an industry that’s so tough it isn’t funny. Jennifer Armstrong reports.

Carol Leifer’s career could be a mini-lesson in modern TV history. She started as a stand-up but segued into sitcoms by writing for her buddy Jerry on Seinfeld. From there, she talked her way onto the staff of The Larry Sanders Show, co-created The Ellen Show with future Arrested Development master Mitch Hurwitz, created her own sitcom (Alright Already), and even dabbled in reality in The Celebrity Apprentice‘s third season. READ FULL STORY

Official title and jacket cover announced for Hillary Clinton's book: 'Hard Choices'

Chelsea Clinton isn’t the only famous family member making the news — early this morning, Simon & Schuster released the official title, jacket cover, and description for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book.

Hard Choices is an inside look at the challenges that Clinton faced during her tenure as secretary of state. Information about the book is also available at www.hardchoicesbook.com; the website will post updates on the book ahead of its publication date of June 10, 2014.

The full description from Simon & Schuster’s press release is below:

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George R.R. Martin reveals what a full-sized dragon looks like

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Yeah, that big!

George R.R. Martin has posted an excerpt from his upcoming companion book to his bestselling Song of Ice and Fire novels. On the author’s website, he released an entry from The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the World of Game of Thrones. The book is mega encyclopedia covering the events and historical figures that shaped the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.

The excerpt gives some background for fans of Daenerys Targaryen, setting the stage for the dragon-aided conquest of Westeros by her ancestor Aegon I Targaryen. But also intriguing is the accompanying illustration, which shows Aegon atop his dragon Balerion the Black Dread. Martin confirmed to EW the image accurately represents his vision for what a fully grown dragon will look like — can you imagine Dany riding one of these? (on Thrones, we’ve seen an adult dragon’s skull in season one, but the living dragons on the show are still adolescents). The book is released in October. Check out Martin’s sample.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez has passed away at the age of 87, according to the Associated Press. García Márquez was recently hospitalized for an infection in Mexico City, and on Wednesday, April 9, he was released to convalesce at his home. The Colombian-born author and journalist is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century. In his lifetime, he published six novels and seven nonfiction books, as well as numerous novellas and short story collections. His work transcended Spanish-language literature to become internationally beloved.

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See the cover for Pittacus Lore's newest I Am Number Four, 'The Revenge of Seven' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Check out the cover for Pittacus Lore’s The Revenge of Seven, the fifth installment of the I Am Number Four series. (God, that’s a numbers jumble, isn’t it?) The book goes on sale August 26th. HarperCollins gave this preview of the story: READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Laura Hillenbrand rewrote 'Unbroken' as a YA book

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Laura Hillenbrand has rewritten her best-seller Unbroken, the life story of Olympic runner Louie Zamperini, as a YA nonfiction book that will be published on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2014). The original Unbroken tells the tale of Zamperini’s Odysseian journey from a hard-scrabble kid in Southern California during the Depression to his meteoric rise as an Olympic runner in the 1936 Berlin Games. Later he signed up as a fighter pilot during World War II and flew planes in the South Pacific. His bomber crashed 850 miles off the coast of Hawaii and he spent 47 days stranded on a raft before being captured by the Japanese and brutally abused in a POW camp until the end up the war. But it’s not a downer! He perseveres and with the same buoyant spirit that carried him to the Olympics, he recovers from his wartime experiences and finds new life for himself.

I’m not sure why this needs a “YA” version. It sounds pretty appropriate for the 12+ ages of the “young adult” genre. Surely if you can be conscripted to read Lord of the Flies at 13, you can read this amazing real-life tale of the triumph of human spirit. Hillenbrand didn’t say specifically what she changed for the younger version, only that “Louie Zamperini’s story is spellbinding to people of every age. At the urging of librarians, teachers, and parents, I’ve created this edition specifically for younger readers. I’m delighted to bring Louie’s inspiring, exhilarating story to a new generation.” Since its original publication in November 2010, Unbroken has sold nearly 4 million copies and has remained on the bestseller list for over 160 weeks, with 14 weeks at #1. Angelina Jolie is directing a film adaptation (written by the Cohen brothers no less!) which is set for release on Christmas Day 2014.

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Cassandra Clare's 'City of Bones' read by 'Parenthood's Mae Whitman -- EXCLUSIVE

City of Heavenly Fire, the final book in The Mortal Instruments series, comes out in only six weeks on May 27, 2014. That means you have six weeks left to revel in the saga of Clary and her golden boy Jace and her dark angel brother Sebastian and the most loveable dork/vampire Simon and the man-eating, demon-killer Isabelle and poor, lovesick Alec. After this, guys, it’s finito.

As we roll up to the final book, Simon & Shuster is releasing a new edition audiobook for City of Bones, which will be narrated by Mae Whitman, who plays Amber Holt on Parenthood. (She was also Roxy Richter, Evil Ex #4 in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Such a great performance.) We’ve got an exclusive interview with Mae, talking about her preparation for the book and who her favorite characters are. Check out the video: READ FULL STORY

See the trailer for 'The One' by Kiera Cass -- EXCLUSIVE

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The One, the final installment of Kiera Cass’ Selection trilogy, doesn’t hit shelves until May 6. So unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until then to find out if America Singer chooses Aspen or Maxon. I’m emotionally preparing myself for either outcome, though I’m quite partial to Maxon. So fingers crossed things work out in his favor. In the meantime, check out this exclusive trailer teasing the conclusion to Cass’ best-selling YA series.  READ FULL STORY

Kid Lit's Primary Color: White -- REPORT

Of 3,200 children’s books published last year, only 93 featured black characters—and the numbers weren’t great for Asians, American Indians, and Latinos either. What gives?

If you’re a parent of a child of color, finding relatable kids’ books can be something of a challenge. Just ask Lori Tharps, an African-American journalism professor and the mom of three bilingual, bicultural children. “I’m not trying to make my kids read about slaves all the time,” she says. “A black wizard story would be nice. Flat Stanley could be Asian or Latino. But they’re not there… at least it would be one less blond-haired, blue-eyed heroine or hero to worship.” A survey of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013—out of a total of 5,000—found that only 67 were by African-American authors, and only 93 titles centered on black characters. That’s the lowest number of black protagonists since 1994, when the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison began tracking that data. The numbers were similarly abysmal for children’s books by or about American Indians, Asians, and Latinos — proving that publishing, like the film and TV industry, has a long way to go when it comes to fostering and promoting diversity.

So why are bookshelves so whitewashed? For one thing, children’s books about diverse characters don’t sell (though there are exceptions, such as Octavia Spencer’s middle-grade mystery, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit). Says one children’s-book executive, “If we thought there was a demand for more nonwhite characters, we would try to fill it.” Sales can “certainly impact visibility and output,” says Rosemary Brosnan, editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Award-winning Mexican-American writer Gary Soto knows this all too well: He had to end his 20-year career writing children’s books due to low sales. “I think many buyers think, ‘We already have a Gary Soto book in our library or classroom; we don’t need any more.’” Tharps, a former EW staffer, says, “Part of this problem could be solved if the great books that are out there that feature characters of color were given more promotional push by publishers and not shoved into the multicultural section.” READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling reports live from the Quidditch World Cup!

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Harry Potter’s official fan site, Pottermore, posted two new pieces from J.K. Rowling as part of the “History of the Quidditch World Cup.” And now we know why! Because Ginny Potter (née Weasley) is going to be “reporting live” from the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, which is happening in the Patagonian desert this year, folks. (So I guess South America is hosting all the World Cups. Lucky dogs.)

These days, Ginny is married to Harry and enjoying a post-player career as a sports journalist. Her byline says, “from the Daily Prophet’s Quidditch Correspondent in the Patagonian desert, Ginny Potter.”  J.K. Rowling also quotes the magical creatures expert Rolf Scamander in the piece – which a press release noted that “knowledgeable Harry Potter fans” should be able to “spot the link to the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts that J.K. Rowling is currently writing, the protagonist of which is Newt Scamander, Rolf’s grandfather.” So are you a true fan? Did you catch that?? (I didn’t.)

This first article from Ginny describes how the international teams’ mascots, magical creatures from the world of Harry Potter, took part in the ceremony and caused havoc for their handlers. We find out why more than 300 crowd members are suffering from shock, broken bones and bites following the ceremony, and why failure to bring their usual mascots — a troupe of performing trolls — caused a great deal of trouble for the Norwegian delegation.  A match report details the thrilling action between Norway and Ivory Coast in the first match of the tournament.

To check out the articles, sign in to Pottermore and go to the Office of The Daily Prophet section.

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