Shelf Life Book news, reviews, trends, and talk

Tag: Barack Obama (11-20 of 24)

On the Books: Morgan Spurlock wants to hear about your failed novel, National Book Awards announce 5 under 35

++ Chad Harbach need not apply. For those of you (okay, us) who moonlight as authors but have failed to write the Great American Novel, filmmaker and author Morgan Spurlock might be looking to tell your story — especially since you haven’t been able to do it yourself yet. Spurlock’s camp posted a casting call on Mediabistro for dreamers, including starving writers, who might be looking to switch to the much more stable profession of documentary subject. At the very least, starring in a movie will give you great material.

From the posting: READ FULL STORY

On the Books Aug. 22: New Decemberists video's literary roots, Obama's summer reading picks

Decemberists

++ Parks and Recreation showrunner Michael Schur, a David Foster Wallace fan, based the “Calamity Song” video he directed for the Decemberists on Wallace’s seminal novel Infinite Jest. Let the tennis balls fly!

++ Self-published author John Locke, not to be confused with the 17th century philosopher or a Smoke Monster, has entered an exclusive deal with Simon & Schuster to handle the distribution of physical copies of his books. Locke’s Donovan Creed novels, which have sold more than a million digital copies, will be available in traditional bookstores starting February 2012. READ FULL STORY

On the Books Mar. 17: Michelle Obama to write about White House vegetable garden

First lady Michelle Obama has signed on with Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, to pen a book about her garden on the South Lawn of the White House. To date, the garden has produced 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables and folds into the first lady’s campaign to promote healthy eating, creating community, and supporting local foods. Obama explained to the AP her intentions behind the project: “So we wanted to share the story with the rest of the nation and perhaps with the rest of the world, because we get so many questions about the garden: How did we do it? Why did we do it? How do I do this in my own home or community?” READ FULL STORY

'O' author revealed to be McCain speechwriter

O-Mark-SalterImage Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP ImagesO, what a trip it’s been. Less than a month after politicos and journalists got themselves all frothed up over an Amazon.com posting for the anonymously written O: A Presidential Novel, the author has been unmasked. Mark Halperin of Time has confirmed that John McCain aide and speechwriter Mark Salter is the pen behind the work of speculative semi-fiction. Well, that was certainly quicker than with Primary Colors: Scribe Joe Klein managed to elude identification for about seven months back in 1996 when that anonymous political novel was published. Salter and Simon & Schuster head Jonathan Karp have yet to confirm this revelation.

Top-Secret Obama novel excerpts: The President loves golf, hates voters, is attracted to Sarah Palin

O: A Presidential Novel is a novel that claims to explore “some resonant truths about what President Obama is thinking” through the veil of fiction. Because the author of O has remained anonymous, comparisons abound to Primary Colors, the Joe Klein novel about a Clinton-esque politician that was published anonymously. But Simon & Schuster is aiming a little bit higher with O. “By choosing anonymity,” writes Publisher Jonathan Karp over at the book’s website, “our author is following in the tradition of Jane Austen, the Brontës, The Federalist Papers, The Story of O, and, of course, Lemony Snicket.” So, just to clear things up, the author of O is remaining anonymous because they don’t want readers to know they’re a woman, because they want to influence the ratification of the Constitution, because O is a sadomasochistic novel that savagely deconstructs French sexual mores, and also because they want O to appeal to children. Who’s excited? READ FULL STORY

Mysterious Obama-based novel gets a cover and will be set in the future

OThere has already been much hubbub over O: A Presidential Novel, the book that mysteriously appeared on Amazon earlier this month, and about which little is known other than it’s unlikely to have anything to do with this or this. On the Amazon product page, the author is listed as “Anonymous,” leading a few political prognosticators to think that it would be something akin to the 1996 Clinton-in-all-but-name novel Primary Colors, except about President Barack Obama. Now the publisher has released a cover image and a little more information: For one, the events depicted will take place in the future.

According to Simon & Schuster, it is “a novel about aspiration and delusion, set during the presidential election of 2012 and written by an anonymous author who has spent years observing politics and the fraught relationship between public image and self-regard” and the author has “has been in the room with Barack Obama and wishes to remain anonymous.” So straight off the bat it doesn’t appear that it will be as much of a straight political roman á clef as a speculative work of semi-fiction, albeit one that will center around the current president. And it will undoubtedly set pundits pondering for at least a little while as to the identity of the author. O: A Presidential Novel is set to release on January 25.

New 'Archie' comic reveals Archie is pro-Obama, arch-enemy Reggie is a Sarah Palin fan

The new Archie Comics, released on Wednesday, finds the red-headed hero and his girlfriend Veronica talking environmental issues with President Obama. Meanwhile, Archie’s long-time rival, the rich-kid Reggie Mantle III, gets his picture taken with Sarah Palin. Both political alliances are used for Archie and Reggie to further their campaigns for student-body president.

In the final panel of Archie issue #616, Obama and Palin are each depicted as holding up different front pages of the Riverdale school newspaper, each of which implies that Obama and Palin have endorsed Archie and Reggie, respectively. Obama and Palin yell angrily, in unison, “Who’s responsible for this!?” READ FULL STORY

Tea Party hero Christine O'Donnell signs book deal

Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party politician whose campaign for the U.S. Senate in the state of Delaware was overshadowed by her years-old comments about witchcraft, has signed a book deal with St. Martin’s Press, according to the Associated Press. O’Donnell, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, was a surprise winner of the Republican primary but lost the general election to Democrat Chris Coons. The book intends to share her “frustrations” with the political process.

President Obama pens children's book

of-thee-i-singImage Credit: Janet Mayer/PR PhotosHe’s leader of the free world–and a now he’s a children’s book author, too. Random House will publish President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters on November 16. The book, illustrated by award-winning author and illustrator Loren Long, pays homage to 13 groundbreaking Americans including George Washington, Jackie Robinson, and Georgia O’Keefe.

Random House declined to comment, but president and publisher Chip Gibson said in a press release he was honored to publish the book: “[It's] an inspiring marriage of words and images, history and story. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans–the potential to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths.”

Obama, inspired by his daughters Sasha and Malia, completed the manuscript for Of Thee I Sing before entering office in 2009. The best part of the book’s release? All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation.

Will you be buying this book for your kids, Shelf Lifers? And any guesses as to who the other 10 Americans are acknowledged in the book? And anyone else now have My Country, ‘Tis of Thee now stuck in their head? Share them in the comments.


Is Nelson Mandela's memoir 'Conversations With Myself' Oprah's new book club pick?

Conversations-with-MyselfOprah Winfrey won’t officially announce her 64th book club selection until Sept. 17, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be Conversations With Myself, a memoir of Nobel winner Nelson Mandela assembled from journals, diaries, letters, and records of private conversations that he kept over the course of his storied life as an activist turned prisoner turned president of South Africa. A rep for the book had no comment, but here’s my thinking:

The subject matter seems very Oprah-friendly. The talk-show giant has a long-standing connection to Africa, where she’s built several schools for girls. And she’s selected several African-themed books for her club before, including Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country and Uwem Akpan’s story collection Say You’re One of Them (her 2009 selection).

It’s a memoir by an historical figure, with a presidential imprimatur to boot. We know that Oprah has a thing for memoirs by famous people recounting historical events, from Elie Weisel’s Night to Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man. (Best not to mention her brief, much-regretted dalliance with a memoir by a regular joe named James Frey.) Mandela’s book already boasts a foreword by Barack Obama, which may make an Oprah endorsement seem like just so much frosting on the best-seller cake.

The timing and the price are right. Conversations is due to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on Oct. 11, just a few weeks after the book club announcement, so mass-shipping the title a week or two early wouldn’t be a logistical challenge. Plus, the book retails for $28 — and we already know from booksellers that the new pick is a $28 book from FSG parent Macmillan (which suggests that it’s a new release that’s not a title already available in paperback).

After scouring online book retailers, I turned up roughly a dozen titles from Macmillan imprints such as Henry Holt and Farrar, Straus and Giroux that retail at that price. (Another Macmillan imprint, St. Martin’s, generally doesn’t price books at even dollar amounts.) One of FSG’s $28 books, as other commentators have noted, is Jonathan Franzen’s much-ballyhooed novel Freedom. But after Winfrey’s fallout with the author over The Corrections nine years ago, the chance of her choosing Freedom seems about as likely as Nicholas Sparks winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other $28 Macmillan titles include: Wait for Me!, a memoir by Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire; Joan Biskupic’s American Original, a biography of Antonin Scalia; Mark Wyman’s Hoboes; James Schuyler’s poetry collection Other Flowers; and Michael Caine’s memoir The Elephant of Hollywood.

I’m sticking with my guess: This fall, a lot of us will be reading a lot about the anti-apartheid movement, the prison on Robben Island, and the struggle for true democracy in South Africa.

Latest Videos in Books

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP