It’s a Burberry coat…It’s a private jet…It’s Beyoncé! The pop superstar will be getting the comic book treatment in Fame: Beyonce, a 32-page special issue comic that will hit racks in January. Part of it will be an origin story, but since it looks like the narrative will be sticking pretty close to the real-life facts, we probably won’t see the singer receive the power of super-choreography after being bitten by a radioactive Bob Fosse. According to the press release, the book will illustrate her “rise through the music business, from her early days with Destiny’s Child to her booming solo career.” The comic comes from Bluewater Productions, the same company that has already put out comics based on the lives of Sarah Palin, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga.
Tag: Biography (31-40 of 40)
The AP is reporting that the author has finished his research and has packed up his perch, heading back to Massachusetts to start penning the book.Good fences make good neighbors, especially if your neighbor is a writer looking to get dirt on you and your family. When author Joe McGinniss moved next-door to Sarah Palin’s Wasilla, Alaska home three months ago in order to start gathering research for a new book, the Palins added an extension onto their fence to obscure his view. Apparently this didn’t deter McGinniss from getting what he needed:
While the Palins understandably didn’t roll out the welcome mat, McGinniss found the people of Wasilla were extremely hospitable. “They started bringing me blueberry pie,” he told the AP. “I had many offers of handguns to borrow.” Additionally, McGinniss says that everyone was willing to talk to him, “with the single exception of that least Alaskan of all Alaskans, Sarah Palin.”
Biographer Andrew Morton, known for tackling high profile people in his works, is at it again, this time chronicling the life of Angelina Jolie in Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography, out Aug. 3. Earlier this week, the New York Times published a review which noted the obvious lack of sourcing throughout the book. I set out on a three-day journey to read Morton’s book and see what all the fuss is about.
As it turns out, the critique is not that far off. Although I thought many of Morton’s revelations were interesting, I found myself questioning the credibility of his research throughout all 16 chapters. There are seven pages of ‘source notes’ at the end of the book, but it’s really just a letter from Morton acknowledging the people who would speak with him. (Angelina is not one of them.) Morton said he relied on “original research and interviews with contemporaries” for the most part. But I would say the majority of the book relies on interviews done by other people, including two quotes from interviews Angelina did with Entertainment Weekly in January 1998 and November 1999. (I checked. At least these two quotes were placed in accurate context.) Many of his other sources spoke only with the promise of anonymity. And while that’s fine and dandy, there are too many anonymous sources to make me believe everything he writes. I kept wondering “Who said so?” and “Why should I believe this?” as he drew his many conclusions. For example, he quotes a psychoanalyst who has more than 20 years of experience, but has never treated Angelina. This doesn’t scream credibility to me.
Here’s an abridged list the book’s, um, highlights. (If you do choose to read it, you’d be OK skipping the first four chapters. They’re boring.)
- Angelina’s mom, Marcheline, had feelings for Al Pacino. Morton claims she was in romantic turmoil over her feelings for Pacino and Jon Voight. When Voight proposed, Pacino begged her not to marry him. But Marcheline went along with her mother’s wishes, and chose the more successful of the two men at the time and married Voight. (It really is a small world. Even for famous people.)
- Morton also claims Marcheline gave her children the names Angelina and James because they were anagrams of Al Pacino’s full name, Alfredo James Pacino.
- During the filming of Voight’s Conrack, he and Marcheline went on a long drive. They saw a church bus with the name “Shiloh Baptist” painted on the back. Voigt wanted to name his next child Shiloh Baptist, but Marcheline said no. She later recommended the name for her first biological grandchild. (For a woman who hated her ex-husband so much, this is quite a big step.)
- Both Angelina and her brother, James Haven, were given middle names with the intention that they would drop their surname to go into show business. (Well, that plan definitely worked.)
- At 14, Angelina’s boyfriend, Anton, moved in with her at her mother’s suggestion. Apparently, Marcheline gave up the master bedroom for her teenager daughter. This was all in the name of keeping a close eye on their budding relationship. (WHAT?!)
- Angelina wanted to be successful without using her father’s famous last name. But her mother told an agent that he could start telling people she was Jon Voight’s daughter, unbeknownst to Angelina. “To this day Angie doesn’t know that it was her father’s name that helped her get her first big break.” (Well, I’m guessing she has a hunch.)
- After the 1998 Golden Globes, Angelina partied with Leonardo DiCaprio after their agents set them up. They didn’t hit it off in the long run, but they did share a shower together. (Morton actually said Leo didn’t “float her boat.” Eww.)
- In 1999, Angelina received a tattoo of Billy Bob Thornton’s name way below her bikini line. The book reveals it was tattooed in Helvetica. (A nice sans-serif choice, if you ask me.) That tattoo has since faded.
- Billy Bob Thornton and his “morbid fear of flying and a hatred of harpsichords, silverware, and antiques, particularly French furniture. Born into poverty, he was literally terrified of putting a silver spoon in his mouth.” (Hatred of harpsichords? )
- In September 2002, Jolie officially had Voight removed from her name. But Morton said at one point she told a Toronto newspaper, “I actually hate Jolie. I would rather have been Voight.”
- She’s quoted talking about adopting a child from Russia, but it didn’t work out. (Can you imagine being the almost child of Angelina Jolie? Neither can I.)
So what do you think? Is this a book you want to read? And do you trust Andrew Morton’s research on a person he’s never (to my knowledge) spoken to?
Tired of looking for a children’s book for real, patriotic Americans? Everyone knows The Giving Tree supports a welfare state, Curious George is part of the evolution agenda, and don’t even get me started on that tree-hugging Lorax. Well, now you can search no further: The Christian publisher Zondervan has announced that they will be publishing an unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin for young readers. Speaking Up will fashion the story of the former governor’s life as a source of inspiration for ages 9-12.
According to the New York Times, Bristol Palin’s unplanned pregnancy will not be covered in this kiddie version of Going Rogue. Also likely to be excluded are the vice-presidential candidate’s hunting affinities: Children who love Dr. Seuss’ Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose probably wouldn’t be interested in seeing Ms. Palin pump a high-powered bullet through that big heart of his. And I doubt that her hand-written note gaffe will make it into the final draft, lest you end up inspiring students to use crib sheets during their oral book reports.
What do you think, Shelf-Lifers? What else do you think won’t be in the book? What will be? And who do you think will be the primary evil villain: Levi Johnston or Katie Couric?
withdrawn before publication. (Kelley claims that was probably because it contained reveals regarding Oprah’s life as a “teenage prostitute,” among other secrets)Kitty Kelley has gone where most biographers have been too afraid to go before: She wrote the life story of the all-powerful Oprah Winfrey. Kelley spent four years of her life researching the talk show maven for her new unauthorized biography, Oprah (hits shelves tomorrow). We got the author on the phone today to talk about her research and the secrets she discovered in Oprah’s own autobiography, which was
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You wrote that you had met Oprah years ago. At what point did you begin thinking about writing about her?
KITTY KELLEY: Decades later. I had absolutely no intention or idea at the time. It just was one of those coincidences. And I remembered it so well. It was in 1981, and I was promoting a book in Baltimore. But I didn’t decide to write this book until 2006.
What started to get you interested in writing it?
I didn’t think I’d do another one. And I’m going to tell you now I’m never going to do another one. But I just thought her life story from the little I knew of it was absolutely fascinating. But I told my agent that that’s what I would like to do, and he said, “There is no way. Nobody is going to publish this book.” And I say, “In my contract, I have to go back to my publisher.” And we went back to my publisher, and they said no. But Crown Books thought it was a fabulous idea. And they saw it the same way as I saw it. I thought the life story was unbelievable. She’s so powerful and she’s had such an impact on our society, that I thought a biography that would tell people more to understand her would be great. So that’s how it came about. READ FULL STORY »
The 2010 Pulitzer Prizes were announced today, and the winners included a few surprises (although sadly, still no recognition for critic extraordinaire Jay Sherman). The prize for fiction went to Paul Harding’s Tinkers, a debut novel about a clock repairman recalling his childhood on his deathbed. The book comes from Bellevue Literary Press, a nonprofit publisher operating out of a tiny office at New York University’s School of Medicine since 2005.
The Pulitzers for history and biography went to, respectively, Liaquat Ahamed’s Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, about the Great Depression and T.J. Stiles’ robber-baron bio The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Here’s the full list of those who won for books:
Fiction: Tinkers by Paul Harding
Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout
History: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
General Nonfiction: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman
Biography: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles
Hilary Mantel’s Tudor-era novel Wolf Hall won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction at a ceremony Thursday evening in New York City. The acclaimed book also won the Man Booker Prize last fall.
Blake Bailey’s Cheever: A Life won the biography prize, while 92-year-old Diana Athill’s rumination on old age, Somewhere Towards the End, won for autobiography. The nonfiction prize went to Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.
Rae Armantrout’s aptly titled Versed won for poetry and Eula Biss’ Notes From No Man’s Land took the criticism prize.
In addition, the uber-prolific Joyce Carol Oates received a lifetime achievement award from the NBCC, which has bestowed awards annually since 1974. In addition, veteran New Yorker writer Joan Accocela accepted the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
Only weeks after the bestselling campaign book Game Change laid out for all to see the indiscretions and subsequent political implosion of John Edwards, the former aide/human shield who originally claimed paternity for Edwards’ illegitimate child has announced his own tell-all account of the affair. Andrew Young’s book, The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down, was not originally intended to be released until next Friday, but a number of salacious, if unconfirmed, details have already been leaked, and the book will now go on sale on Saturday.
The book deals with Young’s facilitation of the liaison as well as his role in its aftermath and the ensuing cover-up, which Young contends was orchestrated by Edwards himself. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Young alleges Edwards had him handle making hotel reservations in order to accommodate the affair with Rielle Hunter, the mistress and, as Edwards finally admitted last week, mother of his child. “When I knew where the senator was staying,” writes Young, “I made reservations in my own name, faxed copies of my credit card and state identification card, and told the hotel staff that my ‘wife’ would be checking in on my account.” Young also goes for some particularly vengeful quotemongering by citing the once down-home candidate as railing against appearing at state fairs and having “fat rednecks try to shove food down my face. I know I’m the people’s senator, but do I have to hang out with them?” In an interview with Bob Woodruff for ABC News, the former aide talked of a sex tape involving Edwards and a woman who may be Hunter.
Mary Karr’s Lit and Edmund White’s City Boy were among the finalists named on Saturday for the National Book Critics Circle‘s 2009 awards. The two will compete against Diana Athill’s Somewhere Towards the End, Debra Gwartney’s Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love, and Kati Marton’s Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America in the autobiography category.
In fiction, the finalists are Bonnie Jo Campbell’s National Book Award finalist American Salvage, Marlon James’ The Book of Night Women, Michelle Huneven’s Blame, Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall, and Jayne Ann Phillips’ Lark and Termite.
The biography category is dominated by books about writers: The finalists are Blake Bailey’s Cheever: A Life, Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, Benjamin Moser’s Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, Stanislao G. Pugliese’s Bitter Spring: A lIfe of Ignazio Silone, and Martha A. Sandweiss’ Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line.
Nonfiction finalists are Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History, Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains, and William T. Vollman’s 1,300-plus-page Imperial.
In criticism, the short list includes Eula Biss’ Notes From No Man’s Land; Stephen Burt’s Close Calls With Nonsense: Reading New Poetry; Morris Dickstein’s Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression; former EW staffer David Hajdu’s Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture; and Greg Milner’s Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music.
And file under better late than never: 93-year-old poet Eleanor Ross Taylor’s Captive Voices is among the poetry finalists, joined by Rae Armantrout’s NBA finalist Versed, Louise Glück’s A Village Life, D.A. Powell’s Chronic, and Rachel Zucker’s Museum of Accidents.
The uber-prolific Joyce Carol Oates will receive a lifetime achievement award at the NBCC’s annual awards ceremony, which will take place in March. In addition, veteran New Yorker writer Joan Accocela will pick up the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
Kitty Kelley — the best-selling author of numerous unauthorized biographies — will publish her highly anticipated bio of talk show maven Oprah Winfrey on April 13. Random House imprint Crown has ordered more than 500,000 copies for the 544-page book’s first printing. Kelley interviewed 850 sources during her three years of research.
“Oprah has spent years eliciting intimate confessionals from her subjects, but she herself has a carefully guarded persona,” says Crown executive director of publicity David Drake. “This is the first complete portrait of her — it will reveal Oprah as she has never been seen before.” When pressed to divulge details, he would only say, “It will cover all aspects of her life…It will be evenhanded. Kelley understands Oprah’s cultural importance and that is something she covers at length.” Drake went on to say that the company is not worried about any kind of backlash from Oprah herself, even though the book-loving talk-show queen remains on the air another 18 months (and there’s no telling how she’ll cover books on her new cable network, though she surely will). “I spoke to the people at Harpo this morning, and they were gracious to me,” Drake says. He pointed out that Oprah has been aware of the book for some time and that “she even said, a few years ago, something along the lines of, ‘I’m not encouraging it, I’m not discouraging it; this is America.’”
Kelley’s other biographies, best-sellers all, include The Family (about the Kennedys), Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, and His Way (about Frank Sinatra). But somehow we suspect that this one will never be an Oprah Book Club pick.
Photo credit: Adam Larkey/ABC
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