Tag Archives: autobiography

Rich season of fiction expected this fall

For the weightiest novel this fall, or most any season, Alan Moore has the grandest ambition.

“The intention was to somehow combine four or five different books or impulses for books into one coherent whole,” the author known for the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta says of Jerusalem, a 1,266 page words-only union of science and fantasy that references everyone from Albert Einstein to Oliver Cromwell.

Moore worked a decade on his all-encompassing tale, set in his native Northampton, England.

“This is the book in which I have written most directly about the things that are most central to my life, these being my family and the place that I emerged from. By making the narrative so personal and specific I hoped to conjure a kind of universality, an evocation of the families and places that we all come from at some point in our ancestry, irrespective of who or where we are, but the fact remains that the materials of ‘Jerusalem’ come from a source very close to me.”

 

Big books

Fall is the time for “big books,” whatever the page length, and some of the top fiction authors from around the world have new works coming, including: Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Rabih Alameddine, Emma Donoghue, Jonathan Safran Foer and Michael Chabon.

Ann Patchett, owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, looks forward to selling Jacqueline Woodson’s autobiographical novel Another Brooklyn and Colson Whitehead’s celebrated, Oprah Winfrey-endorsed historical novel about slavery, The Underground Railroad.

Ann Patchett, the author, will be promoting her novel Commonwealth, although she’ll keep it low-key at Parnassus Books.

“I’ll sign them, put them in a linen bag, send them off with a picture of my dog Sparky. Sparky is the ‘value added’ element,” she says.

Another author-book store owner, Jeff Kinney, has completed Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, the 11th installment in his multimillion selling series. He will tour worldwide on behalf of Double Down, but at Kinney’s An Unlikely Story, in Plainville, Massachusetts, the message is “try not to overdo it on the Wimpy Kid front.”

“We have two small roller units with my books, and that’s about it. I don’t think someone coming off the street would know I own the bookstore if they hadn’t heard beforehand,” Kinney said.

Whitehead’s novel is among several notable accounts of black life, past and present.

Wesley Lowery’s They Can’t Kill Us All is The Washington Post reporter’s book on the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward, includes essays and poems on race by Isabel Wilkerson, Kevin Young and 16 others.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, which has been adapted for a feature film, documents the historic contributions made by black women mathematicians to the country’s space program.

Douglas R. Egerton’s Thunder at the Gates tells of the black Civil War soldiers made famous in the movie Glory, which he calls a “powerful, beautifully acted” production that “manages to get absolutely everything wrong.”

Egerton says fiction and nonfiction on slavery and the Civil War have become more prominent in recent years.

“When I was younger, novels that wrestled with slavery were few and often published by obscure presses,” he says. “That appears to be no longer true. Perhaps also the sesquicentennial of the war and the dawn of Reconstruction has led … to a rebirth of scholarship about black history. One of the depressing things about going to conferences now is to wander through the book exhibit and realize how many new books there are that I need to read!”

Two books that could contain tough words for presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are scheduled for Nov. 15, the week after Election Day: Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In is expected to include his thoughts on his surprisingly competitive primary battle with Clinton, while Megyn Kelly’s Settle for More will likely recount her feud with Trump and her thoughts on ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

In music, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run could be the hottest rock memoir since Keith Richards’ Life was released in 2010.

The Band’s Robbie Robertson offers Testimony this fall, while My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire is a posthumous release from Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, featuring an introduction by Steve Harvey and foreword by producer David Foster.

Brian Wilson and fellow Beach Boys founder (and first cousin) Mike Love continue their long-running and occasionally litigious family competition as Wilson releases I Am Brian Wilson and Love has Good Vibrations.

Often cast as the business-minded Beach Boy, at odds with the visionary Wilson, Love provides detailed accounts of how he wrote the lyrics to many of the Beach Boys’ best-known songs.

“The problem is you have hundreds of thousands of words about us, not always by people who were actually there,” Love says. “I wanted to show how I was actually working on the songs with my cousin, writing the lyrics while he was creating those incredible chord processions and harmonies.”

Other musical memoirs are coming from Tom Jones, songwriter Carol Bayer Sager and the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones.

Beatle fans with some extra cash might consider A Hard Day’s Night: A Private Archive, a $125 volume of photographs, documents and memorabilia about the 1964 film that stunned critics and delighted fans. Annotation is provided by one of the world’s foremost Beatle experts, Mark Lewisohn.

“It isn’t only the end-product that’s extraordinary, it’s the background story, too. It always comes down to the people, to the four guys themselves,” Lewisohn told the AP.

“Why was A Hard Day’s Night their first film when it could have been their third or fourth? They’d had movie offers for six months before this one and turned them all down, because The Beatles were always innately clear on what not to do as well as what to do. They were prepared to risk never appearing in a film at all than say yes to something ‘soft,’ which in their vocabulary meant ‘stupid.’”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Dawn Wells answers the question: What Would Mary Ann Do?

As the title suggests, What Would Mary Ann Do?, by Dawn Wells with Steve Stinson, is a book of advice. Wells, who played the wholesome, naïve Mary Ann in the classic 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, subtitled the book A Good Girl’s Guide To Life, and it’s a subtitle that refers to both Wells and Mary Ann. Wells offers suggestions for living through the eyes of the actress as well as the character. The book also is full of photos from Wells’ acting career.

I spoke with Wells shortly before the book’s September publication date.

What’s the target audience for What Would Mary Ann Do? I probably raised a generation that are parents of teenagers now, and the attraction to Mary Ann has been the wholesomeness, the honesty, the pitching in and helping. (She represents) the kind of values that seem to be going out the window. It’s hard, as a parent, to corral the teenagers. I don’t have children, but I can see (the teen years are a) difficult time. I have men say to me, “I married a Mary Ann,” or “I want to raise a Mary Ann.” I thought, “There’s something in this character, in this silly little show, that has more value than we think.” 

Could you see parlaying this book into a manners/advice column? It’s very interesting that you say that. I had an experience at a barbecue/fundraiser last year. This girl, probably 13 or 14, sat down next to me for an autograph while I was signing them for other people. I had never seen a child so beautiful. One of those faces that just takes your breath away. I said to her, “I’m going to tell you something,” and her mother was standing there, and I said, “Say no.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Because of how you look, you are going to be asked so many things that you don’t understand. Boys can’t help themselves, etc. Start out with ‘no.’” We started to laugh about it. I don’t know that young people would read (an advice column), but they might. That’s kind of a cute idea. I have to roll it around in my brain.

In the book you write about your idea for the British-style red phone booths to be used as cellphone stations. I think it’s sheer brilliance. I get so tired of being in a room and everybody’s talking to somebody else (on their phones). You can’t help but overhear. Privacy is gone. I think we all need private time and private moments. I think it would be nice if you had to go into a booth to have your conversation. We’re all invaded by all of that. Where is our privacy? Where are our own quiet thoughts?

In the book you write about “the lesson of seven castaways” — about how they made the island a “safe haven for humanity,” which is especially applicable today, with the devastation in Gaza and Ferguson, Missouri. What would it take for everyone to coexist in peace and harmony? I’m not sure it’s possible. We are observing it now, firsthand. I get tears in my eyes half the time. Remember the peace marches years ago? Martin Luther King and all that. We in Nevada felt like we had something to do with Montgomery, Alabama. Now, can we do something in Gaza? With the people we elect? The people we elect have a huge responsibility. I don’t know where the world is going.

A few days ago, Huffington Post ran a piece titled “11 TV Shows That Defined Your Childhood, Ranked From Worst To Best.” Gilligan’s Island came in at No. 3. What does that ranking mean to you? First of all, I think it would mean an awful lot to the creator (Sherwood Schwartz), who is gone. That he had the vision. Of course, we were bad-rapped: “The worst show ever on television!” “It’ll never last 30 seconds!” CBS didn’t want to put it on the air. Until they showed it to the public — when they had those audiences and it was rated one of the highest ever. I think it was fun and silly at the time. But it sustained because we need it. We need that escape. It’s not Judy Garland tap dancing. It’s more relatable. You saw the camaraderie between these seven misfits trying to get along. I do think Mary Ann was part of the stability. I don’t think that was part of the writers’ vision from the beginning — “Mary Ann’s got to be the peacemaker.” No. The creator had a purity and a childlike vision of life through these seven characters. You loved the Skipper! We didn’t bully Gilligan. With what’s going on today, Gilligan would be thrown off the island.

You also write about Russell Johnson (The Professor), who had a gay son and then became an AIDS advocate when his son became ill. Are you aware of a gay following? I’m very much aware of the gay following and very supportive. I think Mary Ann would’ve been your buddy! I respected Russell so much. It was a tough time. He went out on a limb and he talked about it and the pride he had with (his son) David. That was a big step way back then.

Where do you stand on the subject of same-sex marriage? I’m supportive. I think we are more alike than different. I think we need to embrace who we are today and stop fighting. If there is love around, it’s love, there’s nothing offensive about that.

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Hard Choices: Publisher’s Weekly’s bestselling books

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. “Hard Choices” by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster)

2. “Blood Feud” by Edward Klein (Regnery)

3. “One Nation” by Ben Carson (Penguin/Sentinel)

4. “Good Call” by Jase Robertson (Howard Books)

5. “Instinct” by T.D. Jakes (FaithWords)

6. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty (Harvard/Belknap)

7. “Think Like a Freak” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow)

8. “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book” by Diane Muldrow (Golden Books)

9. “America” by Dinesh D’Souza (Regnery)

10.“Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter (Little, Brown)

11.“The Closer” by Mariano Rivera (Little, Brown)

12.“I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai (Little, Brown)

13.“Finding Me” by Michelle Knight (Weinstein)

14.“Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso (Penguin/Portfolio)

15.“Special Heart” by Bret Baier (Hachette/Center Street)

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. “Invisible” by Patterson/Ellis (Little, Brown)

2. “Top Secret Twenty-One” by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

3. “Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith (LB/Mulholland)

4. “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King (Scribner)

5. “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte Press)

6. “All Fall Down” by Jennifer Weiner (Atria)

7. “The Goldfinch” Donna Tartt (Little,Brown)

8. “The Matchmaker” by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)

9. “The One & Only” by Emily Giffin (Ballantine)

10.“Unlucky 13” by Patterson/Paetro (Little, Brown)

11.“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte)

12.“All the Light We Cannot See” By Anthony Doerr (Scribner)

13.“The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow)

14.“The Target” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

15.“Ghost Ship” by Cussler/Brown (Putnam)

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS

1. “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

2. “The Promise” by Robyn Carr (Mira)

3. “Until we Touch” by Susan Mallery (Harlequin)

4. “Bombshell” by Catherine Coulter (Jove)

5. “Second Honeymoon” by Patterson/Roughan (Vision)

6. “Kiss and Tell” by Fern Michaels (Kensington/Zebra)

7. “Inferno” by Dan Brown (Anchor)

8. “The 9th Girl” by Tami Hoag (Signet)

9. “When Day Breaks” by Maya Banks (Berkley)

10.“Zero Hour” by Cussler/Brown (Berkley)

11.“Bones of the Lost” by Kathy Reichs (Pocket Books)

12.“The Last Boyfriend” by Nora Roberts (Jove)

13.“The Marriage Pact” by Linda Lael Miller (Harlequin)

14.“To Marry a Scottish Laird” by Lynsay Sands (Avon)

15.“On a Clear Day” by Debbie Macomber (Mira)

TRADE PAPERBACKS

1. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Broadway Books)

2. “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)

3. “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing)

4. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown (Penguin)

5. “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King (S&S/Gallery)

6. “Heaven Is for Real (movie tie-in)” by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson)

7. “The Silver Star” by Jeannette Walls (Scribner)

8. “The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin)

9. “10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse” by J.J. Smith (Adiva)

10.“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (LB/Mulholland)

11.“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow)

12.“How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster (Harper Perennial)

13.“Sweet Salt Air” by Barbara Delinsky (St. Martin’s)

14.“Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris (Back Bay)

15. “Inferno” by Dan Brown (Anchor)

Elizabeth Warren’s autobiography due in April

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has written a book chronicling her life story, from her working-class roots in Oklahoma to a seat in the Senate representing Massachusetts.

The publisher describes “A Fighting Chance” as a look at the conflict between large institutions and the needs of everyday citizens.

The book details the Democrat’s work in the Senate and her 2012 campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Scott Brown. It also looks at her efforts to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Warren plans a book tour of the state beginning April 24 in Cambridge, with stops in Worcester, Springfield and Boston. The events are open to the public.

The book is scheduled to be published on April 22 by an imprint of Henry Holt and Company.

Critics blast Scott Walker’s ‘tell-nothing’ book as shoddy stunt

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s new book isn’t exactly a tell-all. In fact, it glosses over or leaves out many of the most important parts of the story of his drive to destroy public unions and his subsequent recall battle.

“Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge” is scheduled for release on Nov. 19. 

According to those who’ve previewed the book, three of the book’s most glaring omissions include: 

Jobs promise: Walker promised in his 2010 election campaign that after four years as governor the state would add 250,000 private-sector jobs. It was a lynchpin of his campaign, and Walker reiterated it during the recall two years later, even though numbers at that point showed he was on pace to only add half that many. Under his leadership, the state continually has rated near the bottom nationally in job creation.

Incredibly, Walker never even mentions the promise in his book. Instead, the book focuses on how many jobs the state lost prior to his taking office (a claim debunked by Politifact) and how Walker argued during the recall that monthly job-collection data being used against him was inaccurate.

John Doe: Six people, including three of Walker’s former aides, an appointee and a major campaign contributor, were convicted of criminal charges as part of a secret John Doe investigation of his gubernatorial campaign during the time he was serving as Milwaukee County executive and running for governor. 

Amazingly, Walker’s book doesn’t say anything about his closest advisers being convicted or the fact that he was interviewed by investigators and spent $650,000 on criminal defense attorneys.

Since the book was written, yet another John Doe investigation has gotten underway into possible criminal campaign violations tied to his recall race in 2011. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the investigation was launched by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office in response to a variety of leads uncovered from the earlier John Doe investigation.

Polarization: Walker uses the book to position himself as presidential material. He contrasts himself with 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, suggesting that he’d be a stronger candidate due to his success at selling GOP policies. He fails to mention that Wisconsin became the most polarized state in the nation under his leadership, generating the largest and most intense protests the state has seen since the Vietnam War. Walker’s habit of ramming legislation through the Assembly without debate or explanation continues to keep the state polarized and floundering.

Nonetheless, his book points the finger at other Republicans for last year’s election losses, saying they did a “lousy job of presenting a positive vision of free market solutions to our nation’s problems in a way that is relevant to people’s lives.”

Walker’s book does not, however, avoid the infamously embarrassing episode in which he took a phone call from a DJ pretending to be billionaire David Koch, who’s helped to funnel millions of dollars into the governor’s campaign coffers in exchange for enacting Koch’s legislative and policy wish list. During the conversation, Walker told the man pretending to be Koch that he’d considered — but ultimately ruled out — planting agitators among the demonstrators swarming the Capitol to protest the governor’s demolition of public unions.

In the book, Walker and Mark Thiessen, who’s credited as the book’s “co-author,” claim that the governor had never actually considered the plant but “did not want to insult Mr. Koch by saying that we would never do something so stupid.”

Walker also claims that the episode was one of several he describes as divine inspiration — instances in which God interfered in his life  to teach him a lesson.

“Only later did I realize that God had a plan for me with that episode,” Walker writes.

After holding a brief news conference during which Walker took only four questions from reporters about the prank, he picked up his daily devotional and saw that the title for the Feb. 23 reading was, “The power of humility, the burden of pride.”

Walker writes: “I looked up and said, ‘I hear you, Lord.’ God was sending me a clear message to not do things for personal glory or fame. It was a turning point that helped me in future challenges, helped me stay focused on the people I was elected to serve, and reminded me of God’s abundant grace and the paramount need to stay humble.”

Presidential?

In addition to taking down Romney, Walker’s book also attempts to paint him as presidential material by condemning Washington politics and Barack Obama’s presidency, saying Obama has laid out a second term agenda that “doubles down on the failures of his first.” He says Wisconsin’s Republican-led policies have shown a better way forward for the country.

“If we can do it in Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere — even in our nation’s capital,” Walker writes.

Democrats who fought Walker’s agenda in the Legislature and who helped organize the recall attempt laughed at his ludicrous omissions and self-aggrandizing claims, dismissing his book as fictional fodder to fuel his delusions of becoming president.

“I’ve never met anyone who wants to be president more,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Madison who served in the state Assembly during the union fight. “We knew the book was coming. We know he’s traveling all over the country. It would be nice if he put even a portion of that energy into creating jobs in Wisconsin.”

Critics have even scoffed at the notion Walker could write a book. He had a 2.59 GPA when he left Marquette University under mysterious circumstances without receiving a degree. Before dropping out, Walker was disciplined over alleged campaign fraud during a run for student body president.

Although no reporter has been able to ascertain what’s on his college record, many of his critics speculate that either he was kicked out of Marquette or accrued something on his record that was bad enough to prevent him from applying to another institution of higher learning. 

After leaving Marquette, Walker worked in fundraising for the American Red Cross from 1990 to 1994, ending in another sudden and unexplained departure.  Except for those four years, he’s never held a position in the private sector, which he claims to champion.

Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said Walker’s book shows that he would only cause more divisiveness.

“He’s not the type of person who’s going to bring people together and sit people down around a table,” Tate said.

The release of Walker’s book comes roughly a year before he faces re-election in Wisconsin. One Democrat candidate, former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive and state Commerce Department Secretary Mary Burke, has announced she will challenge Walker. She’s already been backed by EMILY’s List, which put more than $5 million into U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s successful 2012 campaign.

Burke, who had not announced her candidacy before Walker wrote the book, is not mentioned in it.

While belittling Romney, Walker is much kinder to Romney’s running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He calls Ryan, who is a close friend, “one of the smartest and most decent people I know in or out of politics.”

Walker says Ryan has the courage to tackle big issues and is a bold reformer. He trashes Romney for distancing himself from many of Ryan’s fiscal proposals.

Perhaps signaling his willingness to be considered for a vice presidential slot, Walker also offers praise to other Republicans who are considered potential 2016 presidential candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Ryan plans to publish a book titled “Where Do We Go from Here?” next summer. But low recent polling numbers in his own congressional district could diminish Ryan’s presidential prospects and force him to spend time in Wisconsin. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Shirley Jones offers naked truth in new book

Shirley Jones opens the door to her house and appears every inch the ladylike Marian the librarian or sweet farm girl Laurey or cheerfully steady Mrs. Partridge, offering a warm smile and handshake.

Her elegant, modestly high-necked jacket is black, her makeup is discreet and her silver hair tidy. Jones’ living room has the sort of traditional furniture and knickknacks (exception: a prominent Academy Award) that would fit any suburban house.

It all adds up to the publicly familiar Shirley Jones, whose crystalline soprano voice and dewy prettiness made her an immediate star in the 1950s film versions of “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel” and who captured a subsequent generation of fans in TV’s “The Partridge Family” in the 1970s.

Then there’s “Shirley Jones,” her new autobiography – written with Wendy Leigh and published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint – that turns the 79-year-old actress’ image on its head in startling ways.

“So bring out the smelling salts, hang on to your hats, and get ready for the surprise of your lives!” she writes, coyly, in the book’s introduction. It’s not false advertising.

There’s a recounting of her early life and dazzling career that included working with two musical theater masters, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, as well as many of Hollywood’s top actors, including Marlon Brando (king of the retakes to exhaustion, Jones said), Jimmy Stewart (charmingly ditsy) and Richard Widmark (the only co-star she fell in love with).

But a substantial part of the book is spent on her troubled marriage to the late Jack Cassidy, the glossily handsome actor and singer whom she describes in a passage as her first lover and “sexual Svengali,” and whose lessons she shares candidly.

That includes – X-rated spoiler alert – Cassidy’s impressive endowment, Jones’ own “highly sexed” nature that made orgasms a breeze, their threesome with another woman (“yuck,” she says, when asked about the onetime experiment), Cassidy’s pre-marital sexual encounter with Cole Porter that Jones says left her unfazed, and her apparent tolerance for his infidelities.

The character of Marian, the spinsterish librarian in 1962’s “The Music Man,” another smash hit for Jones, “wasn’t me,” she said firmly.

And her autobiography makes that abundantly clear, although she says it took the passing of years for to bring such candor.

“I never would have written this book if I weren’t the age I am now,” she said.

So she’s grown-up enough to tell her story, and her admirers should be grown-up enough to read it?

“That’s exactly how I feel,” replied Jones.

She overturned her squeaky-clean image once before with her Oscar-winning portrayal of a vengeful prostitute in “Elmer Gantry” (1960) opposite Burt Lancaster, and the role that she considers her most important. It also brought backlash from her admirers.

“I got letters up the kazoo: ‘Why would you ever take a part like this?” Jones recalls.

Marty Ingels, the comedian who is her second husband of 35 years and counting, jokes that he is offended by her personal history.

“All that stuff she did with her husband (Cassidy), all those adventures …. I’m looking into the grounds of having my marriage annulled,” he said.

That draws a boisterous guffaw from Jones, whose loyalty to her outspoken, eccentric spouse has provoked speculation about how she could have jumped to Ingels from Cassidy, deeply troubled but unquestionably urbane.

Ingels lives up to his image by joining the conversation attired in a purple bathrobe and an oversized top hat with “HUSBAND” printed on it, and cracking jokes about being kept in an attic. Jones has a simple answer for doubters: Ingels makes her laugh every day and keeps life from being boring.

Her sexuality remains unabated, said the naturally youthful-looking Jones (healthy eating, daily exercise and no plastic surgery, she said). She is eager to quash the idea that age kills passion or friskiness.

“Luckily, Marty thinks I’ve still got a beautiful body, even though it is old, and every now and again I take all of my clothes off in front of him and shake my (breasts) at him, and he loves it,” Jones writes in her autobiography, using racy slang for “breasts.”

As she sees it, her own steady temperament made her crave an exciting, surprising partner, and both Cassidy and Ingels fit the description.

She met Cassidy as a 21-year-old small-town girl, a virgin, and “he taught me a lot about everything. Absolutely everything,” Jones said. “I learned about life with Jack, about parties with Jack, drinking with Jack, design with Jack. He was bright, well-read, smart.”

He was also repeatedly unfaithful to her, envious of her success and an inadequate father who late in life was diagnosed as bipolar, Jones said.

“Many people may say, ‘She was crazy. She did anything he wanted and it wasn’t good for her, wasn’t good for the kids, wasn’t good for the people around her,’” she said. “I’m going to get a lot of that … but it was my life and it was the way I wanted to live it.”

Her autobiography begins innocently enough, with Jones born in Charleroi, Pa., and moving as a toddler to Smithton, Pa., where her father helped run the family-owned brewery, the Jones Brewing Co.

She describes herself as a rebellious tomboy, “wild, willful and independent,” who became obsessed with movies and their stars but intended to turn her love of animals into a career as a veterinarian. Talent intervened.

In 1953, on a post-high school graduation trip to New York with her parents, a friend introduced her to an agent who, immediately impressed, told her to attend an open audition with John Fearnley, the casting director for the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

After “going for broke” and singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” a voice from the theater called out to Jones on stage, “Where are you from? And what have you done before?”

“Smithton, and nothing,” Jones recalls as her flustered reply.

She received a part in the chorus for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” and then, a year later, the starring role in the duo’s “Oklahoma!” – as well as the title of “Hollywood’s new Cinderella,” as Jones recounts in her book.

With the end of the big-screen musical era, Jones fought for recognition as a serious actress to win the role in “Elmer Gantry” and other dramatic fare. “The Partridge Family,” about a widow and her musical family and co-starring David Cassidy, allowed her to work in Los Angeles and be home at night with her young children.

She didn’t see Hollywood as exciting, Jones insisted. It was work, which she left behind each day when she returned to her roles as wife and mother.

“I liked my job, but when I came home, I never thought of it,” said Jones, who still takes on occasional theater, movie and TV roles.

Of the many photos scattered around her house, all but one – a group shot showing the triumphant Jones and Lancaster on Oscar night – are of children and grandchildren.

Jones had a chance to reflect on her life anew while recording the audio version of “Shirley Jones.”

“What came to me is, ‘I did this, and obviously I loved it when I was doing it,” she said. “I had a great time. I have no regrets whatsoever.”