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: Nonfiction (51-60 of 114)
Book publicist turned best-selling author Sloane Crosley doesn’t have a new book coming out any time soon, but for those of us who are eager for more of her hilarious, perceptive observations, it’s lucky she’s gotten into the digital publishing game. Up the Down Volcano, Crosley’s first full-length essay since the publication of her second collection How Did You Get This Number, is available exclusively on Amazon as a Kindle Single. This hilarious yet harrowing account of summiting the Ecuadorian stratovolcano Cotopaxi — Crosley-style — reads more like an epic than her previous works, yet it retains her signature brand of intelligent humor, which stems from keen observation and honest self-assessment. EW caught up with this busy writer to talk about her new Single, the ways digital publishing can resemble the music industry, Arrested Development, and a lot more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I laughed out loud while reading “Up the Down Volcano,” but I was also very conscious of the fact that your experience couldn’t have been funny when you were going through it. Are many of the experiences you write about only funny in retrospect?
SLOANE CROSLEY: Yes. Those generally make for better stories. I think that if you can see the humor while it’s happening – this is cliché – you’re tempted to not live in the moment, or it’s already fermenting into a story in your mind as it’s happening. You start mentally taking notes; that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t come out as funny or a worthwhile story on the other side, but for me personally, it’s more rewarding if there’s something [deeper] going on. Part of me thinks that it’s a defense mechanism that takes the pressure off of just trying to be funny, but most of me thinks that’s where people need humor the most, both as readers and as writers. READ FULL STORY
Marilyn Monroe was such a big star at her height that one young man’s brief encounters with her spawned not one but two memoirs, which in turn inspired a feature film that’s currently generating Oscar buzz. The two books by the late Colin Clark both document the author’s experiences at the age of 23 as the third assistant director — or really, as an errand boy — on the conflict-ridden, six-month-long shoot of The Prince and the Showgirl starring Monroe and Laurence Olivier. His first book about the shoot, The Prince, the Showgirl, and Me (1995), consists of his day-to-day, fly-on-the-wall journals of his on-set observations. The second book, My Week With Marilyn (2000), takes a deeper look at a magical nine-day period (mentioned just briefly in the first book) in the middle of that six months in which Monroe lured Clark into a semi-romantic affair. While the two books — published only five years apart — take a markedly different stance on Monroe as a person and an actress, My Week With Marilyn the movie, as the title would suggest, adheres very closely to the book of the same name, although it draws some expository details from the first book as well. Weinstein Books, the publishing arm of the studio that produced the film, has released the two books in one volume for the first time. Whether you have or haven’t seen the movie, is the book worth reading? (Minor spoilers ahead). READ FULL STORY
As a ramp-up to naming the 10 best of the year, the New York Times released its annual long-long list of notable books of 2011, splitting it 45-55 between fiction and nonfiction. The list hits many of the big literary names: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding (Amazon’s pick for book of the year), Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, although it doesn’t include perhaps the buzziest book of the year, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Big award winners like The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (the Man Booker Prize) and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (the National Book Award for nonfiction) both earned a nod, but the National Book Award winner for fiction, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, is noticeably missing.
Amazon chooses Top 10 Books of 2011 — ‘The Art of Fielding’ is no. 1
‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson: EW review
Jesmyn Ward on winning the National Book Award — plus, she takes the EW Book Quiz!
National Book Awards: Jesmyn Ward wins fiction prize
When I spoke to Mindy Kaling last month about Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?, her book of funny insights (available today!), it really felt like chatting with a good friend. Reading the book itself actually feels the same way. Kaling talks about her life up until now — an awkward childhood, penniless years in New York, her enviable job on The Office — all in her smart, honest, naturally humorous tone. While way more intelligent and lovely than her Office character Kelly Kapoor, Kaling was similarly talkative with me — check out how long this interview is! We delved into some of the specifics of her book, so I’ll throw up a SPOILER ALERT in case you want to come back after you finish Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re incredibly popular among my group of friends. I just want to tell you that you really resonate with 20-somethings. But who do you think is your audience? READ FULL STORY
I admit it: It took me a good 10 years to “get” Chuck Eddy. Reading his early pieces, mostly in The Village Voice, where music editor and ultra-talent-scout Robert Christgau showcased Eddy’s idiosyncratic ardencies (Montgomery Gentry? White Wizzard?) and a prose style that was conversational if your idea of conversation was being hectored by a good-natured obsessive, I was stumped. Eddy defeated my pride in being able to ignore the taste of a critic as long as he or she wrote well. His aesthetic seemed random, if not willfully, showily perverse.
But eventually – through sheer quality; through sheer quantity (as a once and future freelancer myself, I admire a man who churns out well-wrought sentences by the ream) – Eddy won me over. How glad I am to see the publication of Eddy’s new song(s) of himself Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism (Duke University Press). Glad, first, because it’s truly a representative selection, tracing the slithery paths of Eddy’s enthusiasms from Marilyn Manson to Mindy McCready just to stick with the “M”s, with tart new intros that set up reprints of some of his greatest hits. And glad, second, that there exist publishers still willing to release anthologies of rock writing, since so much great rock criticism remains uncollected, neglected, less forgotten than never known to a wider audience. (Can we get a Tom Smucker book together, please? I’ll edit the damn thing myself.) READ FULL STORY
The cover of First Lady Michelle Obama’s book was revealed this morning on iVillage, featuring a fantastic-looking Obama holding a basket of vegetables in front of that famed White House garden. American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools and Communities, due out on April 10, will be about the First Lady’s passion project: healthy food for everyone.
What’s on your workout playlist? For Michele Obama, it’s a whole lot of Beyonce
Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and others remember Apple legend Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs’ food weirdnesses: Fasts, living on apples or carrots for weeks on end, fruit smoothie diets
Mitch Winehouse, the father of late singer Amy Winehouse, has sold the rights to a book about his daughter to HarperCollins, according to The Bookseller. The book is called Amy, My Daughter and will be published in the summer of next year. Proceeds will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which supports charitable activities that offer support or care to young people. Amy Winehouse’s family set up the foundation following the death of the singer in July.
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