Jodi Kantor, a New York Times correspondent, says she got the idea for The Obamas back in 2009, when she interviewed the couple in the Oval Office for a piece about their marriage. “After the article was published, I couldn’t stop thinking about the subtle tension I had felt in that room,” she writes. Although she never interviewed either the president or his wife again, she went on to talk to 33 White House staffers. The book that resulted isn’t, as advertised, about the Obamas’ marriage — not just because Kantor never spoke to them again, but also because the Obamas lead a cloistered life in Washington, going out even less than George and Laura Bush, who were famously private. The Obamas doesn’t tell us more than we already know about Barack Obama, either. It’s really a portrait of Michelle — and it’s not a kind one. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Controversy (41-50 of 82)
On the current season of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — shot before the suicide of star Taylor Armstrong’s husband Russell in August of this year — much of the drama has come from the ladies trying to get Armstrong to be honest about whether she was suffering abuse in her marriage. These days, she’s much more forthcoming: Armstrong is releasing a memoir about her marriage, including addressing domestic violence issues, through Simon & Schuster, E! reports.
Scheduled for a Feb. 7 publication, the memoir is expected to reveal details of the Armstrongs’ marital problems and Taylor’s recent efforts as an advocate for victims of domestic violence. There have been no reports as to whether the proceeds will go to charity.
What’s your take on Armstrong’s upcoming book? Has she finally “found her voice,” as she says in the opening credits of the show, and using it for good? Or is this whole business flat-out sickening?
Flavorwire has posted a whole host of rejection letters from now-popular works that at least one publisher didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
Sylvia Plath, for example, received this note about The Bell Jar:“I’m not sure what Heinemann’s sees in this first novel unless it is a kind of youthful American female brashnaess. But there certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice….One feels simply that Miss Plat [sic] is writing of them because [these] things did happen to her and the incidents are in themselves good for a story, but throw them together and they don’t necessarily add up to a novel.” Brutal!
Also included are takedowns of Lolita; a children’s book by Tim Burton; and Kerouac’s On the Road. Hugely successful contemporary authors have their war wounds as well: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down nearly a dozen times.
But my favorite isn’t, technically, a rejection letter. It’s a note that Hunter S. Thompson sent to William McKeen, who had written a biography of him.
Back when EW asked book publishing insiders if they’d be interested in an Amanda Knox book, the answer was an unmistakable, resounding “Yes.” One prominent editor told us, “People vote at the bookstore when it comes to any big case. You need to ask, ‘Where is the court of public opinion on this?’ That’s who’s going to buy the account.” While in publishers’ eyes Knox is golden, the opposite can be said for Casey Anthony, the Florida mom acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee. It’s safe to say that the court of public opinion finds Anthony guilty, and readers are, for obvious reasons, loath to hand money over for her book. TMZ called around to publishers yesterday and today, and here are some of the statements they received from the big houses: READ FULL STORY
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
While EW’s official take on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is forthcoming, there’s been a lot of advance buzz out there about details from the book. We’re promised a good deal of unprecedented access to the late, famously closed-off Apple chief, as Jobs relinquished all editorial control to Isaacson and continued to speak to him after his resignation as Apple’s CEO and up until the weeks before his death. Until you can read Steve Jobs itself — it hits bookstores Oct. 24 — here are some of the book’s most talked-about leaked details.
• According to the New York Times, the book offers new details about Jobs’ struggle with pancreatic cancer. Upon his diagnosis with cancer in Oct. 2003, he delayed surgery to experiment with “exotic” treatments, including “fruit juices, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments,” much to the distress of friends, family, and medical professionals. Once he chose to pursue more traditional treatments, Jobs became “one of 20 people in the world to have all the genes of his cancer tumor and his normal DNA sequenced,” the price tag for which was $100,000.
• During a last-minute meeting at the San Francisco airport in 2010, Jobs warned President Obama that he was headed toward a one-term presidency and that he needed to be friendlier to businesses. READ FULL STORY
The National Book Awards nomination debacle — which began when the National Book Foundation mistakenly named Shine by Lauren Myracle as a contender for the young adult category instead of Chime by Franny Billingsley — is so ridiculous that it naturally invites parody. This video, animated in the text-to-voice style of the Xtranormal series of GEICO ads, spoofs the incident pretty much by recounting what actually happened. See the video below!
It’s been over a month since Occupy Wall Street protesters took to lower Manhattan to protest a whole host of issues regarding financial regulation, inequality, and frustration with America’s current economic system. With growing media coverage, celeb spotting, and protests popping up in other cities all over the world, everyone has an opinion, and it’s no surprise that authors have decided to weigh in as well. READ FULL STORY
English author Julian Barnes won this year’s Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award. (At $80,000, it’s also one of the most lucrative for a single book). The 65-year-old won for his brief, but concentrated, novel The Sense of an Ending, a story about a contented, middle-aged man whose past comes back to haunt him in surprising ways.
Stella Rimington, who headed the panel of judges this year, came under criticism recently for supposedly “dumbing down” the awards when she stated that the judges were looking to honor “readable” books: “We were looking for enjoyable books. I think they are readable books,” she said. “We wanted people to buy these books and read them. Not buy them and admire them.”
Barnes himself has criticized the Prize in the past, calling it “posh bingo” and accusing judges of being “inflated by their brief celebrity.”
The U.S. release of the book was fast-tracked from Jan. 2012 to Oct. 11 of this year in anticipation of the announcement of the award, which Barnes was widely favored to win.
EW’s review of ‘The Sense of an Ending’
Lauren Myracle’s National Book Award nomination withdrawn — Myracle reacts on Twitter
National Book Awards finalists announced — Tea Obreht reacts to her nomination
On the Books Sept. 12: Knopf to fast-track publication of Julian Barnes’ novel
In a truly embarrassing snafu, the National Book Foundation admitted that it incorrectly named Shine, the controversial novel by popular young adult author Lauren Myracle, as a nominee in the Young People’s Literature category last week. The debacle began on Wednesday when the NBF accidentally listed Shine instead of Chime by Franny Billingsley as a nominee. Initially, the list of nominees grew to six to include both Shine and Chime, but on Friday, Myracle was asked to officially withdraw from the running to preserve the “integrity” of the awards and the judges’ decisions. The NBF has agreed to donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in recognition of their mistake. (The plot of Shine centers on a gay teen who falls victim to a heinous hate crime.) READ FULL STORY
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