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Tag: News (1-10 of 10)

Harper Lee speaks: Marja Mills-penned bio was unauthorized (Updated)

Harper Lee, aka Nelle Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is the focus of author Marja Mills’ bio The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, which hits shelves Tuesday. It purports to be a rare in-depth look at the lives of Lee and her sister Alice, borne out of a years-long friendship between Mills, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, and the Lee sisters, whom she moved next door to in 2004.

According to the book’s description, Mills “spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.” The Lee sisters, it says, “decided to let Mills tell their story.”

But, there’s just one problem. According to a letter penned by none other than 88-year-old Nelle Harper Lee herself—who, mind you, hasn’t written a book since Mockingbird, doesn’t grant interviews, and generally stays out of the public eye—The Mockingbird Next Door was executed without her cooperation or permission and based on false pretenses. Lee first issued a statement on the matter in 2011 when Penguin Press announced that it had acquired the book. Now, on the evening before its July 15 release, she’s reminding us that nothing has changed on her end.

Take a look at Lee’s statement in its entirety after the jump, where she reiterates her declaration that she had not “willingly participated in any book written or to be written by Marja Mills.” And, in case that isn’t clear enough, she also says, “rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.” Penguin Press and Mills also responded Tuesday morning with their own statements.


Official title and jacket cover announced for Hillary Clinton's book: 'Hard Choices'

Chelsea Clinton isn’t the only famous family member making the news — early this morning, Simon & Schuster released the official title, jacket cover, and description for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book.

Hard Choices is an inside look at the challenges that Clinton faced during her tenure as secretary of state. Information about the book is also available at; the website will post updates on the book ahead of its publication date of June 10, 2014.

The full description from Simon & Schuster’s press release is below:


'Breaking Bad' actor Bryan Cranston to pen memoir

As Walter White in the hit television series Breaking Bad, actor Bryan Cranston has played the role of a loving father, a former teacher, and a famous meth dealer — all rolled into one. Now, Cranston can add one more role to his resume: author. Scribner announced today that it will be publishing a memoir by Cranston, with a publication date set for fall 2015. An audio edition, to be released simultaneously by Simon & Schuster Audio, will also be available.


On The Books: 'Between Shades of Gray' prepares for big screen debut


Your book news for today!

Film right have been secured for Between Shades of Gray, the 2011 best-selling YA novel by Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Gray is the story of a young teenager, Lina Vilkas, who is deported to Siberia during Stalin’s reign during World War II and separated from her father. The rights were optioned by Sorrento Productions and Tauras Films, with the screenplay written by Sundance alum Ben York Jones. Marius Markevicius will sit in the director’s seat for the film, which is scheduled to start filming in 2014.

Little, Brown announced that it will be publishing a novel from acclaimed independent filmmaker Whit Stillman titled Love & Friendship: An Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novella Concerning the Beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, Her Loves and Friendships, and the Strange Antagonism of the DeCourcy Family.  “Love & Friendship introduces Stillman as a brilliant novelist, adapting Jane Austen’s wickedly funny—and little-known—novella with his signature humor and affection. This is a rare treat for Whit Stillman fans and Jane Austen readers alike,” Little Brown’s Reagan Arthur said in a press release.

Jose Emilio Pacheco, Mexican poet and essayist, died Sunday at age 74. Pacheco was the recipient of the 2009 Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious Spanish-language literary award. [NPR]

Forget the National Book Awards — at least, that’s what Bookslut wants you to do. The monthly blog has just launched a new literary prize called “The Daphnes” which honors the best book published 50 years ago. “If you look back at the books that won the Pulitzer or the National Book Award, it is always the wrong book. Book awards, for the most part, celebrate mediocrity. It takes decades for the reader to catch up to a genius book, it takes years away from hype, publicity teams, and favoritism to see that some books just aren’t that good,” Editor Jessa Crispin said in a blog post explaining why the award was created. [Bookslut]

By the way – the biggest book festival in the world? Apparently, Asia’s got that one covered. As reported by The Daily Beast, the 2014 Jaipur Literature Festival broke records with over 200,000 people coming to hear acclaimed speakers such as Jonathan Franzen, Gloria Steinem, Amartya Sen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Reza Aslan, Jim Crace, and Ved Mehta.  [The Daily Beast]

On The Books: Literary award season! Newbery & Caldecott winners announced for 2014


The winners of two of the most prestigious honors for excellence in children’s books were announced today: Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses, which was illustrated by K.G. Campbell, while Brian Floca received the Caldecott for Locomotive. The medals, awarded annually by the American Library Association, honor the best of the best in children’s literature. [NPR]

In other book news….


On The Books: Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Nick Offerman among celebrities to pen new books

The celebrity book train continues to roll on, with most of today’s book news centering around famous names who have recently signed some deals that sound both interesting and, well, interesting.

Scholastic has announced that it will be publishing a holiday children’s picture book from Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. The subject matter? The couple’s adorable twins, Moroccan and Monroe. According to Scholastic’s press release, Roc and Roe’s Twelve Days of Christmas will be geared towards children ages 3 and up and will follow the kids as “they put their own unique spin on the Christmas Carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman, fresh off the success of his best-selling book Paddle Your Own Canoe, will be penning another narrative. Dutton announced the acquisition and said, in its press release,  that the untitled book would “highlight approximately twenty-five figures from U.S. history that Offerman considers his personal pantheon of ‘Great Americans’ — which range from George Washington to Willie Nelson – told from his unique, always humorous perspective.” Ron Swanson dishing on his favorite historical and famous figures? Sign me up to be the first customer!

And in more celebrity news (kind of), Vintage Books has announced it will publish the first book on Edward Snowden. Available in paperback on Feb. 11, The Snowden Files will be the first definitive narrative chronicling insights into the biggest intelligence leak in recent history.

Lots of fun book news today in the entertainment world! What are you most excited about?

Five new J.D. Salinger titles will be published by 2020, authors claim


So maybe we will find out what happens to Holden Caulfield after all.

In Salinger, the new oral history of the Catcher in the Rye novelist, David Shields and Shane Salerno claim that the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust—controlled by Salinger’s wife Colleen and his son, Matthew—will release five new Salinger works between 2015 and 2020, all approved for publication by the author himself before his death in 2010. (Salerno also directed a new documentary about the reclusive writer that is due in theaters Sept. 6.) The new titles are:

—an anthology, The Family Glass, which will include the existing Glass family stories along with five new ones as well as a Glass family geneaology.

—a World War II novel inspired by Salinger’s enormously complicated relationship with his first wife, Sylvia, who may have been a Gestapo informant.

—a manual of the Hindu Vedanta religion, which Salinger followed for the last 50 years of his life.

—a novella based on Salinger’s own experiences that, according to the authors, “takes the form of a counterintelligence agent’s diary entries during World War II.”

—“a complete retooling” of Salinger’s unpublished Holden Caulfield story “The Last and Best of the Peter Pans,” which will be packaged with the existing Caulfield stories as well as new stories and The Catcher in the Rye, “creating a complete history of the Caulfield family.”

Navy SEAL writes firsthand account of Bin Laden raid


A U.S. Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has written an anonymous first-hand, blow-by-blow account of the operation to be released on Sept. 11.

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden is described by its author, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen, as an effort “to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in US military history.”  Penguin, the book’s publisher, added that the work provides a “blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death.”

The project had been top secret within Penguin — word had not even reached Washington before yesterday’s announcement. The US government was said to be surprised by news of the book’s release and admitted to not having had the opportunity to review the book for any potential security breaches.

Should it be deemed that there is classified information in the book, Owen could face criminal charges. READ FULL STORY

EW Review: The unfortunate timing of Joe Posnanski's biography of Joe Paterno


Joe Posnanski is a terrific writer. He also happens to have terrible luck.

The former Sports Illustrated star, who currently writes for a new venture called Sports on Earth, has spent years working on an in-depth biography of the legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Posnanski reportedly snagged a $750,000 advance from Simon & Schuster for the project. And why shouldn’t he? When he inked his contract, Paterno was arguably the most famous and recognizable caller of collegiate X’s and O’s in the country. Even though it had been clear for some time that the gnomish, octogenarian’s best seasons were behind him, he was still “Joe Pa” — the trusted and revered shaper of young men whose strong moral code had always gone unquestioned. It seemed like an obvious best-seller. Plus, the author had attained extraordinary access to Paterno, his family, and his archives.

Then, just as the book was about to go to print, the unimaginable happened. One of the most respected figures in college athletics was suddenly swept up in a child molestation scandal allegedly perpetrated by one of his longtime assistants, Jerry Sandusky. Worse, the fatherly Paterno (who died from cancer in January) knew about the stomach-turning incidents and didn’t do as much as he could have — or should have — to see justice done. Just like that, Posnanski’s admiring biography had turned into something very different than the book he’d set out to write. The idol was now tarnished. He would have to push back his deadline, scramble like a quarterback staring down a blitz, and get to work on some serious revisions. READ FULL STORY

Novelist Gore Vidal dies at age 86

How do you sum up a career as eclectic as that of Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday at age 86 of complications from pneumonia? He was a novelist, of course, the acclaimed author of 25 novels (from scandalous best-sellers like Myra Breckinridge to scholarly works like Burr and Lincoln). But he also wrote more than 200 essays, seven plays (his 1960 political drama The Best Man had a critically praised revival on Broadway in 2012 starring James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury), and nobody knows how many TV and movie scripts (including an uncredited rewrite on the 1959 classic Ben-Hur). He was a political pundit who famously came close to fisticuffs with William F. Buckley Jr. during a live TV debate at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was also an actor (in movies such as Gattaca and With Honors), a game show panelist (What’s My Line?), and a frequent guest on Johnny Carson’s sofa (where he made witty banter during 16 Tonight Show appearances, almost as many as Charo).

“I never thought about myself as a ‘personality,’’’ Vidal told EW back in 2006, when he was promoting Point to Point Navigation, a second volume of personal memoirs. “To go around in a purple suit or something just to get attention — that’s not my style. But you’ve got to amuse yourself somehow, you know? And I find that being on TV is a lot more amusing than actually watching it.’’

Vidal’s health—and luck—had been on a long slide since 2003, starting with the illness and death of his longtime partner, Howard Auster. He was forced to sell Swallows Nest, his beloved cliff-side villa in Ravello, Italy, and spent his final years ensconced in his Hollywood Hills home, a sprawling abode filled with framed photographs of the famous friends he’d made over the years. In his living room, he kept a somber picture of Jackie Kennedy, apparently taken in the early 1960s. “To Gore,” she scrawled across her frowning visage, “who makes it impossible to look this serious.”

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