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Tag: Nonfiction (81-90 of 110)

Bob Woodward Announces Title of his Obama Book

Obamas-WarsSimon & Schuster announced today that Bob Woodward’s 16th book, Obama’s Wars, will be released on September 27. The book will concentrate not on the economy but on the president’s foreign policy. The 441-page investigative work will show Obama “making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret war in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism,” Simon & Schuster announced. An official with knowledge of the book says that Woodward finished writing three weeks ago and that the book will include little on the war in Iraq.

Since winning a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Watergate with fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, Woodward has remained an investigative force in Washington D.C., known for his access to top White House information. He wrote four best-sellers on the George W. Bush administration, focusing on foreign policy and the war on terror. As he did with those books, Woodward will draw upon internal memos, documents, and interviews with top sources–including President Obama–for this latest title.

The cover of Obama’s Wars was also unveiled in the Tuesday announcement, and prominently features a profile shot of Obama looking forward with a focused gaze, and key foreign policy players, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the bottom.

What do you think, Shelf-Lifers? Will you be reading Obama’s War?

The timely e-book: 'Truman Fires MacArthur' and Gen. Stanley McChrystal

mccullogh-mcchrystalImage Credit: Carolyn Kaster/Getty ImagesTiming is everything. With this mantra in mind, Simon & Schuster released an e-book Friday titled Truman Fires MacArthur, a historical account of the 33rd president’s dismissal of his famous Pacific general. The e-book publication came only 48 hours after Pres. Barack Obama sacked Gen. Stanley McChrystal over his comments in a controversial Rolling Stone article. The pamphlet-length e-book, culled from material in David McCullough’s 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, demonstrates a new use of digital technology: the timely back-catalog reissue.

Special editions of physical books have to be planned months in advance, but with no printing or distribution requirements, e-books can be turned around in a matter of days, making up-to-the-minute relevance much more feasible. Excerpts and titles that might normally be difficult to track down could see release within reasonable propinquity to the events they’re pegged to. It’s good to see a major publisher like Simon & Schuster making use of the unique abilities of e-books rather than just spending all its time trying to ensure the experience is as close as possible to that of traditional books. Are there any other back-list books that might be particularly apropos to current events? Maybe a re-release of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! in light of the BP fiasco, or a World Cup 2010 edition of The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick?

'The Advanced Genius Theory': Author Jason Hartley explains which artists are on a whole different level

Jason-HartleyJason Hartley’s Advanced Genius Theory (“are they out of their minds or ahead of their time?”)was hatched over a pizza with his friend Britt Bergman as a way to explain why musical artists like David Bowie and Lou Reed are seen as brilliant in the beginning and slightly kooky as time goes on. EW spent some time talking to him about the theory — and the book.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you explain the Advanced Genius Theory as simply as possible?
JASON HARTLEY: It all kind of comes down to there’s a certain level of genius that is so great that it should always be trusted, no matter what the appearance is. So for instance, most people think of artistic geniuses starting out early, making their great statements when they’re young, then as they get older their work seems to decline. The idea behind the Advanced Genius Theory is that there are certain people who start out great and they get greater and greater, but they’re so great that we don’t understand them.

Who’s a good example of this?
Bob Dylan is the perfect one. There are a lot of components of the theory, and some superficial characteristics, and he meets basically all of the foundations and superficial stuff. The foundations are you have to have a long career; you have to be working on your own, you can’t be in a group; you typically end up selling out like doing a commercial; and also you seem to completely lose your way and you also embrace religion. Bob Dylan does all these things. READ FULL STORY

Sebastian Junger talks about going to 'War'

Sebastian-Junger_240.jpg Image Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/LandovThere are two kinds of people in the world: those who hear the sound of gunfire and bolt in the opposite direction, and those who run toward it. For the past 15 years, Sebastian Junger has made his reputation as the latter. He’s donned a flak jacket to cover wars in lawless lands like Liberia and Sierra Leone. He’s been held prisoner by armed militants in Nigeria. And for his latest book, the harrowing and hard-to-put-down War, he spent 15 months embedded with the U.S. Army’s Battle Company in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley — a remote and vicious mountain region in the eastern part of the country that he describes as “too remote to conquer, too poor to intimidate, too autonomous to buy off.”

We spoke with Junger for a profile in this week’s issue of EW. Here are some of the outtakes from that interview.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you embedded with Battle Company, you were more than just a reporter with a notebook, you and veteran British war photographer Tim Hetherington also brought video cameras to film the missions (the footage of which was edited into the Sundance-winning documentary Restrepo). How did having a camera help you with the book?
SEBASTIAN JUNGER:
It certainly helped me as a journalist. It’s very immediate and very exact. So I would use the video tape as a reference for myself when I was writing. I mean, we’re visual creatures. Most of our information comes through our eyes. Reading ultimately is a cerebral activity, it takes place in your mind. And it’s a way of making reading visual.

Did being preoccupied with filming, help make you less scared?
The camera gave me a reason for being there. I think if your house is burning down and you had your child in your harms you wouldn’t be thinking of yourself. And if you were by yourself and your house was burning down, you’d be terrified what was going to happen to you. The camera was like my baby. It was the thing I was supposed to take care of. My job was to get video. Once I was caught without my video camera in a fire fight, all I could think about was my safety. I had no role. So it really did make a difference. And I’m pretty sure that it works the same way with weapons.

How did you get your start as a war correspondent?
I was 31. I went to Bosnia and I started filing freelance radio reports for 40 dollars a pop. It was the bottom of the journalistic food chain, but I was part of this world of foreign reporting. I was nothing on the food chain, but I was completely intoxicated by it. It was exciting and world events were happening right around me…It was like a drug. READ FULL STORY

Move over, Random House! Novel from Bellevue Literary Press wins Pulitzer

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

What's that smell? Why it's just a bit of 'Jersey Shore' in your bookcase!

jersey-shoreImage Credit: Scott Gries/MTVSurprisingly, the first book to pop out of the greasy traffic accident that is the MTV reality series Jersey Shore is not a heart-wrenching introspective memoir entitled The Reality of The Situation. No, it’s Never Fall In Love At the Jersey Shore, a Guido guide on how to maintain that distinctive Jersey Shore look and attitude, brought to you by two of the show’s houseguests, J-WOWW and Ronnie. That’s right, folks! You too can be a lowest common denominator!

St. Martin’s Press has signed a deal with the two fair-weather Jerseyites to bring you all the best insight into GTL (Gym, Tanning, Laundry), MOITHT (Making Out In The Hot Tub) and GABTCAPSOOTB (Getting Arrested By The Cops After Punching Someone Out On The Boardwalk.) No doubt the advice will be as shallow as the Atlantic Ocean is deep, but perhaps they’ll be nice enough to include a free sample canister of Axe Body Spray along with some suggestions for dermatologists who specialize in melanoma.

What say you, Shelf-Lifers? Gross? Or awesome (and gross)?

'The Lost Symbol' and 'Going Rogue' top 2009 best-seller list

Though it didn’t sell as strongly as The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol moved more than 5.5 million copies to dominate Publishers Weekly‘s just-unveiled list of the best-selling hardcover books of 2009. A few other expected author names populate the Top 15, including John Grisham (No. 2 and No. 6), James Patterson (No. 5), and Patricia Cornwell (No. 12 and No. 14). Stephenie Meyer landed in the ninth spot with her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, but the lack of a Twilight book was evident, particularly in the ascendancy of two entries from P.C. Cast’s Twi-lite House of Night series, which rose up to fill a vampire-shaped hole. The real surprise, though, is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which itself was helped by tremendous word of mouth to become the fourth best-selling fiction book of the year with 1.1 million copies sold. On the nonfiction side, it was politics, mainly conservative, that got the cash register ringing. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue capped the list, but books by Glenn Beck, conservative radio host Mark Levin, and the late Edward Kennedy all made it into the top five.

Whereas sales of albums and movie tickets are tallied virtually in real-time, the figures for the publishing industry are often as closely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe, so PW’s yearly ranking offers one of the best snapshots of the literary marketplace. And while the top contenders on both the fiction and nonfiction lists sold millions of copies, the overall list reveals a far less rosy picture of book sales. The number of titles that sold at least 100,000 copies is down by significant double-digit percentages from 2008 in both fiction and nonfiction.

E-book sales figures weren’t included this year (they will be for 2010), but since digital editions rarely exceed 5 percent of a book’s total sales it’s unlikely that the 2009 sales list would have received a big boost from their inclusion. Here are the top selling books of 2009 (since some publishers did not provide PW exact sales figures, several titles’ rankings are based on estimates or sales figures provided in confidence for the purposes of ranking):

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel, Dan Brown (5,543,643 copies)
2. The Associate: A Novel, John Grisham
3. Tempted, P.C. Cast (1,141,818)
4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (1,104,617)
5. I, Alex Cross, James Patterson (1,040,976)
6. Ford County, John Grisham
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, Janet Evanovich (977,178)
8. Hunted, P.C. Cast (931,219)
9. The Host: A Novel, Stephenie Meyer (912,165)
10. Under the Dome, Stephen King
11. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (855,638)
12. Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell (800,00)
13. U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton (706,154)
14. The Scarpetta Factor, Patricia Cornwell (705,000)
15. Shadowland, Alyson Noel (609,355)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin (2,674,684 copies)
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey (1,735,219)
3. Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, Glenn Beck
4. Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, Mark R. Levin
5. True Compass: A Memoir, Edward M. Kennedy (870,402)
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story, Mitch Albom (855,843)
7. It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Joel Osteen
8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (610,033)
9. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, Greg Mortenson (515,566)
10. Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (487,977).
11. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (487,228)
12. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Jillian Michaels (486,154)
13. The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (397,954)
14. Open, Andre Agassi (383,722)
15. Time of My Life, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niem

Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' wins National Book Critics Circle Award

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.

David Foster Wallace's private papers acquired

David Foster Wallace’s private papers, which include drafts of his books, notes for his magnum opus Infinite Jest, letters, research, and annotated copies of novels by other famous authors, including Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy, have been purchased, the New York Times reports. Among the late author’s effects acquired by the University of Texas, Austin, is Wallace’s dictionary, which any fan of the avowed logophile and member of the SNOOT school will tell you is a pretty fascinating find.

Wallace committed suicide in 2008, but his literary presence is still felt. The author’s third and unfinished novel, The Pale King, will be released next year, and David Lipsky has written a book about his brief time with Wallace that’s due out in April. Are there any fans out there eager to see the inner workings of this brilliant writer’s mind? Does a Wallace-inspired road trip down to Austin sound like a supposedly fun thing that you’d do again and again, or does this news give you the howling fantods?

Sarah Palin to pen a second book

sarah-palinImage Credit: Mike Theiler/Reuters/LandovLess than four months after Sarah Palin’s memoir, Going Rogue, hit bookshelves and best-seller charts, the former Alaska governor is back at her writing desk. HarperCollins announced today that there will be a second book from the former governor of Alaska. This is how you turn a spot on an unsuccessful ticket into a ticket to success, or at least public visibility.

According to the publisher, the as-yet untitled book will be a “celebration of American virtues and strengths,” and will include excerpts chosen by Palin from and about people who have inspired her. Lately, Palin has remained a ubiquitous presence in the public consciousness, whether by Facebook-fighting with Family Guy, appearing on the newly reconstituted The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, or embracing her new gig as a commentator for Fox News.

Politicians’ books, usually with some combination of “American,” “Hope,” “Spirit,” “Liberty,” and “Believe” in the title and an image of them staring into the distance with conviction, are often a preliminary step towards starting a run for the presidency, but Palin is still hedging over announcing whether or not she plans to take a stab at the White House in 2012. What do you think? Is the book just a way to capitalize on the 2.2 million copies of Rogue that have sold so far, or do you think there’s a more political significance?

More Sarah Palin:
Lynette Rice: Sarah Palin shopping Alaska TV docudrama with Mark Burnett
Ken Tucker: See Sarah Palin do stand-up comedy. Intentionally. ‘The Tonight Show,’ night 2

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