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'Big Lebowski' icon Jeff Bridges to really tie the meaning of life together with new book, 'The Dude and the Zen Master'

Last year I moderated a cast reunion of The Big Lebowski at which the mighty Jeff Bridges calmed more than a thousand crazed fans — and, frankly, saved this moderator’s bacon — by leading everyone in a group “Ohm.” So I wasn’t surprised to learn today that Blue Rider Press has acquired the world rights to a Bridges co-written tome, tentatively titled The Dude and the Zen Master, which will explore “the meaning of life, laughter, the movies and trying to do good in a difficult world.”


Kristen Johnston talks about her drug addiction, her life-threatening illness, her recovery, and her new memoir, 'Guts.'


In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly there is a lengthy Q&A with actress Kristen Johnston in which she talks about how her addiction to Vicodin caused her stomach to explode, her subsequent recovery, and her new memoir, Guts. But the 3rd Rock from the Sun star had far more to say than we could fit in the pages of the magazine. Below, Johnston talks further about her travails, her time on 3rd Rock, and why James Frey is not completely “full of s—.”


Love Lessons from StoryCorps: 'All There Is' by Dave Isay


Fickle. That’s probably the best description of my feelings about Valentine’s Day. There are years when I’m thrilled to celebrate love with chocolate, that fat little cherub, and his matchmaking arrows. Then, there are other years when it feels as if I’ve saved up all my bitterness for this one special day.

No matter what category you fall into this year, it is almost impossible not to smile while reading Dave Isay’s All There Is. The compilation of stories from Storycorps’ oral history project share anecdotes of love found, lost, and regained. The short and sweet transcriptions of conversations between two lovers, friends, or family members make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a genuine moment. Each story only takes minutes to read, making it the perfect anecdote for an especially gloomy day. It’s sweet, sometimes silly, and often heartwarming. Mostly, it’s inspiring.

But even if you have an icebox where your heart used to be, All There Is can at least teach you a few lessons. No wonder it’s a Valentine’s Day gift “more meaningful than any box of chocolates.”

5 Lessons Even The Bitter Can Appreciate (or at least laugh at): READ FULL STORY

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announces its new 'Best American' series editors

I like anthologies — probably because I’m such a bookworm — and my favorites, by far, have always been the ones in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Best American series. The publisher has just released the names of its 2012 guest editors, and as always, it’s a pretty fascinating list:
  • The Best American Short Stories: Tom Perrotta (novelist, most recently of The Leftovers)
  • The Best American Essays: David Brooks (New York Times op-ed columnist)
  • The Best American Comics: Francoise Mouly (art editor of The New Yorker, publisher and editorial director of TOON Books, cofounder of comics anthology RAW)
  • The Best American Nonrequired Reading: Dave Eggers (editor of McSweeney’s); guest introducer: Ray Bradbury
  • The Best American Travel Writing: William T. Vollmann (author of 17 books, including Europe Central)
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing: Dan Ariely (author of The Upside of Irrationality)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories: Robert Crais (best-selling mystery novelist)
  • The Best American Sports Writing: Michael Wilbon (co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption)
The short stories, essays, and Nonrequired Reading will once again be required reading for me. How about the rest of you?

Frey, Murakami make 'Bad Sex in Fiction' award shortlist

First he was infamous for fabricating his memoir A Million Little Pieces, but now James Frey is among an elite crowd that Britain’s Literary Review has nominated for another nefarious honor – the year’s worst sex writing. Frey joins Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Australian author Christos Tsiolkas and nine others in writing the most cringe-worthy bedroom scenes of the year.

In what could be considered the Razzies of fiction, this year’s winner will be announced on December 6. Last year the award went to Rowan Somerville for lines like “Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her” in his novel The Shape of Her.

On Twitter, the London-based Literary Review @Lit_Review posted their favorite lines from this year’s finalists:

View the story “Frey, Murakami, Auel make #badsexaward shortlist” on Storify

I feel like I need a shower after reading those tweets! Have you read anything that should have been on this list but didn’t make the cut?

Shelf Life Confessional: Which books have made you lose it in public?

During the weekends, New York City is a hectic, overcrowded, energetic place to be. Throw in some great fall weather and additional out-of-town marathoners and you’ve got one even more hectic, overcrowded, energetic place to be. During these sort of weekends, a quiet moment in this city is about as reasonable a thing to expect as finding an affordable apartment.

So don’t ask me why I opted to read Mindy Kaling’s quirky, sweet new book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) in a busy, bustling park and assumed my giggle fits would go unnoticed. (They didn’t.) I knew I was in trouble when even the introduction made me laugh heartily in a public setting and I only continued to do so through her funny, relatable brand of storytelling. READ FULL STORY

Darrell Hammond's new memoir reveals he did crack, cut himself, and abused alcohol

On the back jacket of his new memoir, Darrell Hammond, one of Saturday Night Live‘s best political impersonators, writes: “I have to give the SNL crew props — it cannot have been easy to work with me. Over the years, the medication I was on included: Depacote, Lamictal, Zyprexa, Abilify, Zoloft, Ativan, Triavil, and Klonopin. I was drinking, doing coke, cutting myself in my dressing room. I was repeatedly shipped off to rehab or a psychiatric unit, and once taken out of the SNL offices in a straightjacket. But somehow, perhaps because I’m my father’s son after all, I was able to soldier on and perform. That is, until I wasn’t.”

It turns out the days of famously self-destructive SNL performers aren’t far in the past. In God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, out Nov. 8, Hammond recalls some of his most detrimental behavior, and the tumultuous childhood he was trying to forget. The New York Post highlighted some of the most shocking revelations from the book: READ FULL STORY

National Book Awards finalists announced -- Tea Obreht reacts to her nomination

The finalists for the National Book Awards were named today in Portland, Oregon. The list includes 20 authors in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. In the fiction category, books about war and ones with an international bent reigned supreme. Not surprisingly, 26-year-old wunderkind Téa Obreht received a nod for her highly praised debut The Tiger’s Wife. EW was the first to reach her for comment soon after the announcement: “I am so thrilled and thankful for this honor. I was driving when I heard the news, and it was very difficult to stay in a straight line. I can’t wait for November and the chance to meet the other finalists.”

A bit more surprisingly, the most hyped literary novel of the year, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, was not listed, and neither was Pulitzer winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ first novel in nearly a decade, The Marriage Plot. Instead, rounding out the fiction category are great but somewhat lesser known books by Andrew Krivak, Julie Otsuka, Edith Pearlman, and Jesmyn Ward.

Unlike fiction, the poetry category is populated mostly by established names like Adrienne Rich. Manning Marable, who died just before the release of Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, received a nonfiction nomination. For young adult titles, Lauren Myracle was recognized for the rather controversial Shine.

The winners of the National Book Awards will be announced in Manhattan on Nov. 16 in a ceremony hosted by actor John Lithgow, who is also an author.

See the full list of the nominated authors and their works below: READ FULL STORY

Mindy Kaling takes the EW Book Quiz: Her favorite books, and the book she'd kill a bug with


Mindy Kaling, known for writing zippy tweets and hilarious episodes of The Office, is trying her hand at authoring a book: Her collection of essays, anecdotes, and humorous observations, Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me (and Other Concerns) will be coming out Nov. 1. In the meantime, EW got a chance to chat with Kaling about her somewhat un-Kelly-Kapoor-like reading habits and taste in books.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When do you find time to read? I imagine your work is all-consuming. READ FULL STORY

Borders employees list grievances: 'Ode to a bookstore death'

Yet another artifact from the slow, painful death of Borders has emerged. A fascinating look inside a (justifiably) angry bookseller’s mind, this manifesto of sorts, “Things We Never Told You: Ode to a bookstore death” informs us of what those helpful Borders folks had to put up with. (I have to admit — seeing the list, I realize I’ve been a bad customer in the past.) Hopefully, we’ll learn from our mistakes and treat the Barnes & Noble people better. The statements from the list are re-printed below — which ones do you agree with? READ FULL STORY

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