It’s a weird collection of book news this Monday. To start with, Jimmy Carter has a new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, which hits shelves tomorrow. The 39th President has published more than 25 books during his career, covering everything from history to politics to “The Virtues of Aging.” But his newest book is on the subjugation of women around the world, looking closely at how religion is used as a tool of oppression. NPR interviewed the former president this weekend and you can listen to an excerpt on their website.
Category: News (41-50 of 609)
News anchor Elizabeth Vargas has announced that she is penning a memoir about her struggle with anxiety and alcoholism. The untitled project will be released by Grand Central Publishing in Spring 2016. Grand Central said that the 20/20 anchor’s memoir will be “a no-holds-barred account of growing up with crippling anxiety and of turning to alcohol for relief. She’ll divulge how she found herself living a dark double life and will share personal stories of her despair, her time in rehab, and, ultimately, her recovery process.” Vargas found solace in reading stories by other women who had battled alcoholism and she feels like it’s her turn to share. “I have spent my entire life telling other peoples’ stories,” she said. “This one is my own, and is incredibly personal: the burden and the loneliness of the secret drinker. If just one other person can relate to it, it will make my own story worth writing, and I will have paid the gift forward.” READ FULL STORY
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the Beat poet and co-founder of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, has sold the rights to his travel journals to Liveright Publishing. They plan to release the collection, titled Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals (1950-2013), in September 2015. It sounds like it will be a counterculture travel guide and a historical snapshot of the second half of the 20th century rolled into one. The New York Times reports:
The journal material, most of it being published for the first time, sheds as much light on Mr. Ferlinghetti’s political passions as on his relationships with the Beat writers. His itinerary takes him to Mexico, Haiti and North Africa, to Cuba in the throes of the Castro revolution, to Franco’s Spain, to Soviet Russia for the 1968 Writers’ Congress, and to Nicaragua under the Sandinistas. It also includes his frequent trips to Italy and to France, where he lived for four years while pursuing a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris. Along the way, he records his encounters with Pablo Neruda, Ezra Pound, Ernesto Cardenal, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky.
On April 18th, Haruki Murakami will publish his first collection of short stories in nine years. The title “Onna no Inai Otokotachi” translates to “Men Without Women” and will be a compilation of short novels that have previously appeared in magazines, as well as one new offering. Apparently there was some scandal around the story “Drive My Car — Men Without Women.” The town featured in the story was offended by Murakami’s portrayal. Supposedly he apologized, but then he went and named the whole collection after that story, so that’s confusing. I’ll chalk it up to “lost in translation.” [Yahoo]
Last night, the National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its prestigious awards for books published in 2013. Not too surprisingly, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche — you might recognize that name from the Beyonce track “***Flawless” — edged out Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch for the big fiction prize for Americanah, the probing novel about Nigerian immigrants that EW chose as one of the best books of last year.
See below for a full list of winners: READ FULL STORY
Attention Potter Fans! (That’s the same as saying “attention everyone.”) J.K. Rowling has written a 2,400 word story on the “History of the Quidditch World Cup” and she’s given it exclusively to Pottermore to post in two parts, half today and half next Friday, March 21st.
Part one, which is going up today, provides historical background about the tournament, information about how the tournament works, and examples of controversial tournaments, including the infamous 1877 match played in Kazakhstan’s Ryn Desert now known as the Tournament that Nobody Remembers. READ FULL STORY
Walt Whitman’s poetry flares up a lot in Americana. Breaking Bad‘s meth kingpin Walter White had an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass (which sold at an auction for $65,500). In the show, the book was the catalyst for his undoing. Bill Clinton infamously presented Monica Lewinsky with a copy of Leaves of Grass. (Lesson: never gift Leaves of Grass. It’s the Hades pomegranate of modern times.) Apple’s recent iPad commercial makes striking (and shameless) use of Robin Williams’ speech from Dead Poets Society in which he quotes Whitman’s “Oh Me! Oh Life!” Today Open Culture featured an interesting article about this phenomenon, but the real treat is the download of Orson Welles’ BBC recording of “Song of Myself.” Welles’ resonant voice and expressive reading is absolutely riveting. He gives the poem the gravity that Whitman intended. It makes you miss old time radio readings. [Open Culture]
If you feel like gobbling up more radio after Orson Welles, head over to N+1. The associate editor Richard Beck and author Sheila Heti discuss political and literary topics like friendship, feminism and the child-care sex-abuse hysteria of the 1980s. You know, casual Thursday thoughts. [N+1]
Lotte Fields was a regular visitor to the New York Public Library until the day she died at 89-years-old. She loved to read and she donated the occasional small sum to the institution. So imagine the everyone’s surprise when it was discovered on Wednesday that she bequeathed the 119-year-old library $6 million in her will. That sounds like something written by E.L. Konigsburg. [New York Times]
The Hugo Awards periodically recognize books that were written 50-75 years prior to the current award ceremony. This year the Hugo committee asked members to pick a science fiction book written in 1938 for an honorary Retro-Hugo award. Notables include: Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis; the Doc Savage novels; and The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White. [Guardian]
Another sweet poetry story, Afaa Michael Weaver just won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his poetry collection The Government of Nature. Chief Judge Chase Twichell said of Weaver, “His father was a sharecropper. After serving for two years in the Army, he toiled for 15 years in factories, writing poems all the while. When he learned that he’d won a National Endowment Fellowship, he quit his job and attended Brown University on a full scholarship. He essentially invented himself from whole cloth as a poet. It’s truly remarkable.” So second lesson today: it’s never too late to seize your dream job. [NPR]
Former EW writer Caroline Kepnes, along with Alloy Entertainment and Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books, is bringing you a story of creepy obsession that seems to fit squarely in the “New Adult” genre that’s been taking off lately. According to the official description, You (out Sept. 30) begins innocently enough:
Recent Brown graduate Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works. Joe is instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: she’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and sexy beyond his wildest dreams. Joe needs to have her, and he’ll stop at nothing to do so. As he begins to insinuate himself into her life—her friendships—her email—her phone— she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom-made for her. So when her boyfriend, Benji, mysteriously disappears, Beck and Joe fall into a tumultuous affair. But there’s more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade, and their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences…
Take a closer look at the cover above, which Kepnes calls “beautiful and bloody.” She adds, “Looking at this cover was love at first sight. It’s so rich and inviting but also scary in all the right ways. I love it. The designer nailed it.”
Keith Richards is publishing a children’s picture book, called Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar. Richards’ grandfather was in a jazz big band and was a childhood role model of the rocker’s. “I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I’m talking about,” says Richards in a press release. “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me.” His daughter Theodora Richards will do the illustrations in pen and ink. The book will be released in hardcover and ebook on September 9, 2014, with the hardcover edition including an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus book content.
City Room’s Big City Book Club had a funny little Q&A with Gary Shteyngart on Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. Shteyngart reminisces on the good old days when Manhattan was “a genuine mix of pathology and creativity.” Now the craziest thing that might happen to you is “a Citi Bike might run over your foot on the way to the Equinox and then you’ll tweet about it pretty hard.” True. [New York Times]
That Amtrak writers residency is now a real thing. They’re accepting application on their website and 24 “winners” will receive round-trip tickets to a mystery location that Amtrak chooses based on availability. So get ready for a romantic ride to Bakersfield, CA.
George Saunders is going to have to install a second mantle in his house to hold all his trophies. He has now won his second award in as many weeks. First it was the Story Prize and now it’s the inaugural Folio Prize from the UK, which comes with a $67,000 reward. Slow clap for the Tenth of December. [New York Times]
LESTAT LIVES! Anne Rice is publishing a new Lestat novel, Prince Lestat, which will be out in October (go figure.) The book will be a sequel to her Vampire Chronicles and the start of a new series. [Guardian]
I had to read all the Vampire Chronicles over again and I had to kind of … I don’t want to be irritating or pretentious talking about a character as if he’s a real human being, but I really had to wrestle Lestat to the ground, and beat him up, and say ‘look, you’ve got to talk to me, I’ve got to know what you’ve been doing’. Because I can’t really write novels about that character unless he wants to come through, and it really is like he’s a living breathing being somewhere, and suddenly he did, he came through, and he started to talk and I was taking the dictation, and everything went splendidly well and it was very exciting.
David Nicholls, the author behind the novel One Day — which sold 5 million copies worldwide and garnered a film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess — has finally announced a publication date for his next novel. After five years in the works, Us will hit shelves on September 30, 2014. This story is about a family on the brink of dissolution — a husband and wife of 21 years who are about to call it quits and their college-bound son. But before everything falls apart, the husband takes them on a grand tour of Europe in hopes of knitting their lives back together. So this is basically the flip side of One Day, which was a 20-year search for romance; Us is a 20-year breakdown of love. While ruminating on Us, Nicholls also wrote the screen adaptation of Great Expectations for the version released last year starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. [The Guardian]
Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch will also be getting a screen adaptation, although the scope of that project hasn’t been decided yet. The producers behind The Hunger Games films have optioned the book, but they’re waiting on “the right filmmaker” to determine the book’s cinematic future, which could be a television miniseries or a movie. The Goldfinch has been gaining more and more momentum since its October 2013 release. The New York Times named it one of the best books of 2013 and it has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bailey Prize. [The Wrap]
Serhiy Zhadan — Ukraine’s most famous counterculture writer according to The New Yorker — suffered a violent beating at the hands of a pro-Russian mob on Saturday. Photos of his bloody face made the rounds online, but he posted this note on his Facebook page to reassure his supporters: “Friends, with me everything is okay.” Zhadan is a national icon in Ukraine and his abuse will reverberate through the Ukrainian populace. Unfortunately The New Yorker reports that:
Now, Zhadan is back in the hospital—his jaw has not been healing properly. But, he wrote in an e-mail, the beating has not deterred him. “It’s very simple,” he wrote. “I don’t want to live in a country of corruption and injustice. I, like millions of other Ukrainians, would like to have a normal measure of power. A dictatorship is not normal, and people who don’t protest injustice, they have no future.”
Hollywood hasn’t finished with the story trend of teens struggling to find their identity in a post-apocalyptic dystopia yet. The most recent YA novel to get snatched up by movie executives is Grasshopper Jungle, which was just optioned by Sony. Scott Rosenberg (Con Air, Beautiful Girls, High Fidelity) plans to adapt the script. The novel is about a 16-year-old boy who inadvertently unleashes a plague of insects that turn the populace into mindless super-soldiers looking to eat, have sex and kill things — basically a bizarre take on the Pandora’s Box myth. Apparently author Andrew Smith carries it off with some verve though because we gave it an A- in our review. Movie-wise, I’d say this would come in around Planet of the Apes mixed with 28 Days Later and multiplied by that Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Teachers Pet.” Can’t wait.
A new campaign called Let Books Be Books aims to end gender bias in the presentation of children’s books. They’re calling for publishers to remove “for boys” and “for girls” labels from kids books, as well as make the covers more gender neutral. This idea has been swirling for a long time, but it seems to be gaining more momentum recently…or maybe I’m just thinking of that amazing GoldieBox commercial for girl’s toys. [Guardian]
On that note, there’s a great essay by Anna Holmes in The New Yorker called “How to be a Good Bad American Girl.” Holmes looks at the legacy of troublesome little girls in American literature, specifically Harriet the Spy and To Kill A Mockingbird. “Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls,” she writes. “These qualities are the prerequisites for, and not the enemies of, creativity, curiosity, and insight.” [New Yorker]
The longlist of 20 nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was just announced today. Lots of great women made the cut. I don’t envy the judges’ job of narrowing this down to a winner for June, 4th. Check out the nominees below.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
- Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam
- Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield
- Fatima Bhutto, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
- Claire Cameron, The Bear
- Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days
- M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine
- Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
- Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes to the Woods
- Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
- Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
- Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
- Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
- Audrey Magee, The Undertaking
- Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
- Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English
- Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs
- Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys
- Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
- Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing
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