Tag Archives: publishing

Alec Baldwin finds new way to mock Trump

Alec Baldwin has found a new way to mock Donald Trump.

Baldwin is teaming with author Kurt Andersen on the satirical book “You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump,” Penguin Press announced this week.

The book is scheduled to come out Nov. 7, almost exactly a year to the day that Trump stunned the world by being elected president, and ensured many more appearances by Baldwin as Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”

Baldwin is having a busy year as a writer.

His memoir, “Nevertheless,” comes out in April.

Politics and publishing: Authors respond to troubling Trump times

Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jane Smiley are among 32 writers contributing to a book of letters responding to the election of President Donald Trump.

Vintage Books told The Associated Press on Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times will be published May 2 as a paperback original.

“The anthology offers readers an antidote to despair: it is a salve, a balm, a compass, a rallying cry, a lyrical manifesto, a power source, a torch to light the way forward,” Vintage announced.

Edited by Carolina De Robertis, the book will be divided into three sections. “Roots” will explore the historical origins of this time. “Present” will feature letters addressed to contemporary communities. “Seeds” will look ahead to future generations. Other writers will include Karen Joy Fowler, Claire Messud and Lisa See.

Radical Hope continues a wave of releases from the publishing world since Trump’s stunning upset last November of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

What Do We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America is a January release from Melville House that features suggestions for action from Gloria Steinem, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and George Saunders.

Gene Stone’s The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen is another January publication, from Dey Street Books.

Piers Morgan, J.K. Rowling in Twitter fight over politics

British TV personality Piers Morgan and British author J.K. Rowling are in a Twitter war over U.S. politics.

He called her work “drivel” and she called him “amoral” after Morgan defended the U.S. government’s travel ban during an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

Morgan faced off with Australian comic Jim Jefferies on the episode during a discussion of the executive order. Morgan said it was “not a Muslim ban,” and Jefferies directed an expletive at him.

Rowling tweeted that it was “satisfying” to hear Jefferies say that.

A flurry of tweets between Rowling and Morgan followed.

‘Hamilton’ author Chernow has Grant bio coming in fall

Ron Chernow, the historian who helped inspire the musical Hamilton, has a biography of Ulysses S. Grant coming out in October.

Penguin Press is calling the book Grant and plans to release it Oct. 17.

Chernow’s previous book, Washington: A Life, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.

His 2004 work on Alexander Hamilton was the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway smash, for which Chernow served as historical consultant.

Chernow’s new book will likely be the most high-profile effort yet to change the reputation of the country’s 18th president. As Penguin noted in its press release, Grant has been “caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman,” a drunk whose Civil War heroism was overshadowed by his legacy as a “credulous and hapless president whose tenure came to symbolize the worst excesses of the Gilded Age.”

Grant’s competence is even challenged on the White House web site, www.whitehouse.gov. His biographical essay, which has been on the site for years, contends that “When he was elected, the American people hoped for an end to turmoil. Grant provided neither vigor nor reform.”

But writers ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates to the historian Jean Edward Smith have argued that Grant is an underrated and even heroic president. Their defense of him extends from the same issue that led early critics, many sympathetic to former confederates, to denounce him: His determination to enforce equal rights for blacks in the South after the Civil War. According to Penguin, Chernow will address Grant’s drinking and other flaws, but within a “grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.”

Faking it: Jake Tapper writing debut novel

Jake Tapper is working on a book that you could call fake news: It’s his debut novel.

The CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent has a thriller scheduled to come out in the summer of 2018.

The novel is called The Hellfire Club, set in Washington, D.C., in 1954.

The story centers on a young congressman from New York, his zoologist wife and the mysterious car accident that takes them to an “underworld of secret deals” and “secret societies.”

Tapper said in a statement that his book would feature such historical figures as President Dwight Eisenhower, Sen. Joe McCarthy and then-Vice President Richard Nixon. His previous books include the nonfiction works The Outpost and Down & Dirty.

Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis win National Book Awards

On a night of nervous laughter and cathartic tears and applause, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award for fiction and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, shared the prize for young people’s literature for a graphic novel about his civil rights activism.

The awards were presented in mid-November during an emotional dinner ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan, with Larry Wilmore serving as host and President-elect Donald Trump the running theme and arch-villain.

From Wilmore’s opening monologue through virtually every award announcement, speakers in the deep-blue literary community addressed Trump’s stunning upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton and how authors should respond.

“Outside is the blasted hellhole wasteland of Trumpland, which we’re going to inhabit,” said Whitehead, whose Oprah Winfrey-endorsed narrative about an escaped slave already was the year’s most talked about literary work. “I hit upon something that made me feel better: be kind to everybody, make art and fight the power.”

Daniel Borzutzky’s The Performance of Becoming Human won for poetry and historian Robert Caro was presented an honorary medal for lifetime achievement.

No speaker moved the crowd more than Lewis, who collaborated with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on a trilogy of illustrated works titled March. Cited for the finale, March: Book Three, the 76-year-old Lewis became tearful as he remembered a librarian in his native Alabama who refused to let him borrow books because of his skin color. He then remembered an elementary school teacher who told him “Read, my child, read!”

“And I tried to read everything,” he said.

Lewis’ win marked two rarities for the National Book Awards, now in their 67th year: a prize for a graphic novel and for a member of Congress. In 2004, the government-drafted 9-11 Commission Report was a nonfiction finalist.

Wilmore, whose rueful jokes about Trump at the beginning of the night seemed to depress rather than amuse the gathering of writers, publishers, editors and others, got a good laugh at the end when he called the evening the BET (Black Entertainment Television) production of the National Book Awards.

The awards are presented by the National Book Foundation and the ceremony was the first under executive director Lisa Lucas, the first black and first woman to have the job. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America won for nonfiction and an honorary award was given to the founders of Cave Canem, a Brooklyn-based foundation for black poets.

“I spent years looking at the absolute worst of America, its horrible history of racism, but in the end I never lost faith,” Kendi said. “In the midst of the human ugliness of racism, there is the human beauty of the resistance to racism.”

Each of the winners in the four competitive categories received $10,000.

Choices are made by panels of judges that include writers, critics, journalists and scholars.

Many of the nominated books seemed to take on added relevance and even urgency in the week after the election. The Underground Railroad is a deep look into the culture of this country during the Civil War, and Arlie Russell Hochschild’s nonfiction Strangers In Their Own Land a modern journey to a conservative Louisiana community.

Fiction nominee Jacqueline Woodson, whose Another Brooklyn is a coming of age story about a black girl in the 1970s, said she was feeling a “a mixture of sobriety and hope” and “gratitude for what is both a distraction and a call to work.” Nonfiction nominee Andres Resendez said we were living in a “new era” and needed more than ever to study the past.

“We still have much to learn and discover about this shameful part of our history, and thus the exploration will surely continue and intensify,” said Resendez, a finalist for The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America.

Every speech seemed to touch upon the present even when Trump wasn’t named.

Caro spoke of his books about Lyndon Johnson and municipal builder Robert Moses and how his aim was to show how political power really operated.

A co-founder of Cave Canem, Cornelius Eady, referred to a certain building (Trump Tower) further north in Manhattan and how he feared that the President-elect and his aides were “trying to write a narrative about who we are and who we are supposed to be and what they intend to do about it.”

“It’s our duty to make sure we get to write our story …” he said, “the fullness of who we are, the contradictions of who we are, in our own language, in our own way.”

Gifts for those who cook and those who just eat

Barbeque and southern foods expert Elizabeth Karmel rounded up her favorite products of the year and suggests these gifts for those who cook — and those who just like to eat:

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK

  • Williams-Sonoma has teamed up with Share our Strength and celebrity food folks including Ina Garten, Chrissy Teigen and Trisha Yearwood to create artwork for the No Kid Hungry Kitchen Spatula. Proceeds from the silicone spatulas benefit No Kid Hungry in its campaign to end childhood hunger in the U.S. Available in stores and online, 30 percent of the proceeds go to charity. $12.95

STOCKING STUFFERS

  • Sukeno Donut Socks are the perfect (calorie-free) gift for the doughnut lover in your life. Designed to fit both men and women, they come folded up and packaged like a single doughnut, and are available in six different “flavors” such as Oreo Ring, Rainbow Sprinkles and Berry Sprinkles. $15.50.
  • I use Revolo porcelain crumpled cups every single morning for coffee, and I love that they now have cups with a Christmas theme. The cups are perfect for coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate or tea. I’ve also been known to use the porcelain cups for cocktails as well. The crumpled cup feels good in your hand because of the indentation that the crumpled part at the top makes in the round cup. A set of two cups is available exclusively on their website. You can choose between a set of 1 red and 1 Moose design, or 2 other holiday motifs, Gingerbread and Santa. $39.99 for two.

FOR COOKS

  • The Wustfhof classic 8-inch Uber Cook’s Knife can be used to chop, slice, dice and mince everything. This essential, multi-purpose knife is a workhorse in the kitchen. The knife takes the traditional features of an 8-inch chef’s knife and adds a bigger “belly” to create a smoother motion for all chopping, mincing and dicing tasks. I like to think of the knife as a mash-up of the popular Santoku knife and a classic chef’s knife. $139.99.
  • I had heard that the Breville Toaster oven was so good that it could rival my wall oven, but I didn’t believe it until I tested the new Smart Oven Pro. I made a roast, a chicken, banana bread, and cookies as well as toast and they all came out as good if not better than in my oven. It also re-heated pizza to perfection. If you don’t have the counter space for the PRO, get the Smart Oven mini which puts other small models to shame. $269.99.

EDIBLE GIFTS

  • Ice Cider (think dessert wine) made from heirloom apples … can you think of anything more appropriate or delicious to serve with a warm apple crisp, apple cake or a nice wedge of cheddar cheese? Eleanor and Albert Leger, founders of Eden Ice Cider, produce a rich full-bodied ice cider from their apple orchards where they grow both sweet and sour heirloom varietals. A 375 ml bottle is made from more than 8 pounds of apples. They offer eight ice cider options including honeycrisp, as well as a smaller 187 ml limited release Brandy Barrel Heirloom Blend Ice Cider. $25.00 for a 375 ml bottle.
  • I met Brenda “Blondie” Coffman at last year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. One bite of her buttercream-iced cookies and her s’mores bars transported me to cookie nirvana. I gave my sweet-toothed father a gift of the Blondie’s Cookies cookie-of-the-month club and it quickly became his favorite gift. The beauty of this gift is that you choose how many months — from 1 to 12— and the cookies are different each month so you never get tired of the assortment. Each from-scratch cookie is individually wrapped and can be frozen. $29.99 per box.

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

  • The Cuisinart egg cooker changed my egg- eating life. Sure I can boil a soft-boiled egg but sometimes it’s more cooked than I like it, especially if I get busy doing something else while I’m boiling the eggs. But this Egg Central uses steam to cook the eggs which also makes them easy to peel as the steam prevents the shell from sticking to the white — just make sure to load them with the smaller point of the egg facing down. All I have to do is crack it under cold running water and the shell literally slips off. The Egg Central also comes with attachments for poached eggs and omelets. $39.
  • The brainchild of John Pittner who owns a kitchen shop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, this acacia-wood cutting board is made with a slight concave center that holds exactly 1 cup of liquid. It also has heavy-duty silicone treads on each corner so that the board won’t slip on your counter — especially helpful when carving. $49.99.

From fashion to film, gift-worthy coffee table books abound

Come holiday time, there’s never a shortage of splashy coffee table books to please just about any aficionado.

Some suggestions:

FASHION & STYLE

“Fashion Made Fair,” by Magdalena Schaffrin and Ellen Kohrer, Prestel, $49.95. Know someone deeply committed to sustainability in fashion? Taking a truly world view, this book dives deeply into companies that do it well. In Zurich, for instance, look to the brothers Freitag, Daniel and Markus. They’re bag makers who launched F-abric, a line of compostable workwear.

“Reigning Men, Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015,” by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker and Clarissa M. Esguerra, DelMonico Books, $55. Going back to the 18th century, this tome celebrates all aspects of men’s dressing, from the French court to Speedo. Among contemporary high points: An intricately bleached denim suit by Vivienne Westwood and a futuristic ruffle suit by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons.

“Francois Nars,” by Francois Nars, Rizzoli International, $85. With some of the most famous faces in fashion represented, the visionary behind NARS Cosmetics tells his story in beautiful close-up color, with snippets of remembrances and inspirations. He includes the communion looks of both his parents and makes it clear beauty begins with beautiful skin.

 

THE MUSIC LIFE

“The Lyrics: 1961-2012,” by Bob Dylan, Simon & Schuster, $60. The Nobel Prize-winning man of the hour, and of oh-so-many hours, has released 36 studio albums that have sold more than 120 million copies. This book includes lyrics from his first album to “Tempest,” released in 2012. Dylan has edited dozens of songs for the book, to reflect the words he uses as he performs them now.

“The Rolling Stones: All the Songs, the Story Behind Every Track,” by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon, Black Dog & Leventhal, $50. The book covers 50 years and 340 songs, beginning with the band’s 1963 debut album. More than 500 photos are included, along with details like what instruments were used in the studio.

“David Bowie Play Book,” by Matteo Guarnaccia and Giulia Pivetta, ACC Art Books, $29.95. What better way to honor the icon who died in January than with a color, cut and play set. Includes paper dolls and his favorite footwear spanning his ever-changing look and a coloring page of the people who inspired him, from Dylan to Marlene Dietrich.

 

THE BIG SCREEN

“Hollywood Icons,” by Robert Dance, ACC Editions, $65. Stunning studio portraits of film icons from the 1930s through the ‘60s from the collection of the John Kobal Foundation. Kobal was a film journalist and historian who amassed a huge collection of Hollywood portraits and set images. Look for Bette Davis, shot by George Hurrell for Warner Bros. in 1939.

“My Elizabeth,” by Firooz Zahedi, Glitterati, $75. Friend and acclaimed photographer Zahedi offers a private peek into Taylor’s life from 44 into her 70s. Includes the Washington, D.C., years, jaunts in Montauk, New York with Halston and Andy Warhol and intimate photos of her children and stepchildren. There’s Taylor making fried chicken, on a boat in Venice, on a trip to Iran.

“The Malkovich Sessions,” by Sandro Miller, Glitterati, $95. “Being John Malkovich” is so 1999. In this book, rather than on film, John Malkovich gets to be himself, in all his goofy, creepy glory. And he gets to recreate some of the world’s most iconic portraits, with the help of photographer Miller, in a book that offers both pathos and whimsy.

 

WILDLY MISCELLANEOUS

“Young Frankenstein, The Story of the Making of the Film,” by Mel Brooks, Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99. Whether you’re a first-generation “Young Frankenstein” fan or trying to nudge along the next, nobody does this 1974 classic better than Brooks himself. With a foreword by Judd Apatow (“Even Gene Hackman is funny in it”) and behind-the-scenes photos, a great to hear the now 90-year-old Brooks in his own voice.

“Shop Cats of New York,” by Tamar Arslanian, photos by Andrew Marttila, Harper Design, $21.99. To heck with that Yelp reviewer who dissed the bodega cat. This book shows that shop life can work for felines, with a warning that not all may be treated like kings and queens. Dwelling in wine shops, bookstores, dry cleaners and yes, The Algonquin Hotel, think “Humans of New York,” only cats.

“Dream a World Anew: The African American Experience and the Shaping of America,” by National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Books, $40. As much a primer on the slave trade and racial discrimination as a celebration of early black entrepreneurs, musicians, writers, activists and athletes in a nuanced, global context. Marks the opening of the new museum in Washington, D.C., great for tweens and teens.

 

A Holocaust denier is brought to justice in ‘Denial’

Mick Jackson’s Denial brings all the decorous polish of a British courtroom drama to the pungent libel case of a Holocaust denier.

Based on Deborah Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier, the film depicts when the unapologetically anti-Semitic historian David Irving brought a libel suit against Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier in one of her books.

Because of the nature of libel cases in the United Kingdom (where Irving filed the suit), the burden of proof is on the defender, not the plaintiff. Hovering constantly throughout the trial — which ran eight weeks — is the question: Is it worthwhile to expend so much energy on such a loathsome liar?

It’s a salient question with obvious relevance to a time where willful disregard for the truth increasingly runs rampant in national politics and social media streams, alike. Should trolls be taken to task or ignored?

Denial argues forcefully and convincingly for the vital necessity of confronting the perpetuation of dangerous falsehoods. It rises impressively to the wise and perhaps unpopular judgment that “not all opinions are equal.” This is an honorable cause if not a particularly dramatic movie.

Just as the legal team behind Lipstadt’s case brought a full array of firepower to the proceedings, so has Jackson in his film. The cast is littered with an impervious collection of British talent, in front of and behind the camera.

Rachel Weisz stars as the Queens-born Lipstadt. Her star-studded attorneys are barrister Richard Rampton (played by Tom Wilkinson) and solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), famed for securing Princess Diana’s divorce. Irving is played with snarling perfection by Timothy Spall. And the script is by playwright David Hare (The Reader, The Hours).

Irving sets things in motion when he turns up a speaking engagement of Lipstadt’s to heckle her from the audience. When he brings the lawsuit against her publisher, Penguin Books, the assembled legal team begins hashing out a strategy of how to argue history in a courtroom, how to prove the Holocaust.

What’s partly on trial, though, is the notoriously byzantine British court system, itself. “Dickensian not Kafkaesque” is what Lipstadt says she’s hoping for in her passage through its elaborate procedures.

Often, Lipstadt’s experience is a frustrating one as she — more emotional than her lawyers — clashes with the stringently logical Rampton. They together visit Auschwitz where he reacts bitterly to the lack of an extensive forensics record. Despite Lipstadt’s protests, the attorneys want neither her nor Holocaust survivors to take the stand to subject themselves to Irving’s questions. (Irving represented himself in the trial.)

These strategic debates aren’t much to hang a movie on, but the case doesn’t supply much else in terms of suspense. Denial is carried less by the normal theatrics of courtroom dramas than a staunch sense of duty to protect the truth. It’s an argument for the patient, methodical dismantling of fools.

 

‘The Murder of Stephen King’ novel pulled from release

James Patterson decided that an upcoming novel, “The Murder of Stephen King,” wasn’t a good idea after all and is having the scheduled Nov. 1 publication withdrawn.

In a statement released this month through Little, Brown and Company, Patterson said he didn’t want to cause King or his family “any discomfort.”

The book was intended as a tribute to King, a King-like story of an obsessed fan out to get the writer.

But Patterson, who co-authored the 150-page novel with Derek Nikitas, said he had learned that fans in real life had “disrupted” King’s home.

“My book is a positive portrayal of a fictional character, and, spoiler alert, the main character is not actually murdered,” he said. “Nevertheless, I do not want to cause Stephen King or his family any discomfort. Out of respect for them, I have decided not to publish ‘The Murder of Stephen King.’”

Despite the jarring title and Patterson’s best-seller status, the novel ranked just No. 30,491 on Amazon.com.

King had no involvement with the book and declined to comment when asked about it by The Associated Press.

Patterson told the AP last week that he and King don’t know each other, although there is some public history between them.

In a 2009 interview with USA Weekend, King said Patterson was “a terrible writer but he’s very successful.”

Patterson, speaking to the AP, shrugged off the remarks as “hyperbole.”

The novel about King was a featured work in the prolific Patterson’s BookShots series of brief, inexpensive fiction.

As a replacement, he will be releasing the novel “Taking the Titanic” in November.

J.K. Rowling’s ‘Potter’ world roars back to life

The pop culture juggernaut of J.K. Rowling’s Potter-mania appeared to be breathing its last gasp when the eighth film in the series, part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, made its premiere amid teeming throngs of bittersweet Potter fans in London’s Leicester Square in 2011.

Wands went into their cases. Hogwarts scarves were hung up.

“When Potter finished, I thought that was it,” says producer David Heyman, who oversaw the movie adaptations from the start and has since produced Gravity, Paddington and other films. Director David Yates, who helmed the final four Potter movies, staggered away for a much-needed holiday.

“I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d come back so quickly,” says Yates. “But it was the script that pulled me back in.”

The script was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and it, unlike all the Potter films, was penned by Rowling herself. Based on Rowling’s 2001 book, which was framed as Harry’s Hogwarts textbook, Fantastic Beasts is set in Rowling’s familiar, magical world, but takes place 60 years earlier, in a more adult 1926 New York where wizards and Muggles (called “No-Majs,” as in “no magic,” in America) live in disharmony.

This fall, Rowling’s $7.8 billion film franchise will roar back into life, resurrecting one of the most potent and lucrative big-screen sensations. It’s a two-pronged attack. While Fantastic Beasts is reaching back into the past of Rowling’s Potter world, the two-part West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (only co-written by Rowling) is going into the future. It moves the tale 19 years ahead of where the books left off.

Authorship, timelines and casts may be extending in new directions, but the old obsession is still goblet-of-fire hot. The script of Cursed Child sold 2 million copies in two days.

Big expectations naturally also surround Fantastic Beasts (Nov. 18). For Warner Bros., which has endured sometimes rocky times in the intervening non-Potter years, it’s a happy reunion. In today’s constantly rebooting, ever-sequalizing Hollywood, did you really think Rowling’s world was finished?

“This isn’t Harry Potter. There aren’t Harry Potter characters in this,” says Heyman. “But there is connective tissue. To (Rowling), it’s part of one big story.”

That connective tissue, like a prequel, will grow more pronounced in coming Fantastic Beasts installments, eventually leading close to Harry, himself. A trilogy is planned, with the next chapter going into production next July. Less diehard fans should prepare for some very hardcore nerding-out by Potter fans as they trace illuminating hints in the tale’s history.

Eddie Redmayne stars as the bumbling magizoologist Newt Scamander, the future author of the Hogwarts textbook. Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Colin Farrell are among the many supporting roles. The story about escaped magical beasts loose in a city with anti-magic elements, the filmmakers claim, bears contemporary relevance.

“We in a time of great bigotry in America, the UK and around the world,” says Heyman. “This context of the story, while not political with a capital ‘P,’ is relevant in this time. It’s an entertainment but it’s not a hollow entertainment.”

Along with the new cast and the hop across the Atlantic, the biggest change is Rowling’s deeper involvement as screenwriter. She’s also writing the next “Fantastic Beasts” film.

“There were lots of things that inevitably got left behind,” says Yates of forming the Potter films. “In this case, we’re working directly with (Rowling) and the material is pouring out of her.”

“She’s a great writer and a quick study,” says Heyman. “She approached it with incredible humility but at the same time with the confidence of someone with boundless imagination. She wanted to be as good as she possibly could at it.”

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.’”

Schumer keeps it real in ‘Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo’

Amy Schumer is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, thanks to her Emmy-winning TV series, Inside Amy Schumer, and feature film box-office smash Trainwreck.

A comedian, actress, writer, producer and director, Schumer is on her way to adding “best-selling author” to her list of achievements with her new book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.

Schumer is a talented storyteller.

She’s known for standing in a spotlight and sharing every corner of her soul with thousands of strangers.

So it’s no surprise that her book is packed with hilarious, honest and often vulnerably raw details of her life.

Her self-deprecating essays reveal a young Amy navigating the tricky waters of adolescence, including new love, lost friendships and the accidental discovery of what the naked body of an older woman looks like up close and personal.

Readers also get a peek inside Schumer’s “new money” world. She starts by chronicling the better part of a decade when she hustled comedy clubs for work in order to make a name for herself. She notes that her achievements are the result of hard work, never passing up an opportunity to get on a stage, and the ability to poke fun at herself.

Schumer writes that life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. She’s been the subject of emotional and physical abuse. Her parents’ divorce was painful. Her father suffers from a debilitating disease. And she’ll never forget the dreadful night when two young women were killed in a shooting while watching her movie at a theater. As a result, she’s an advocate for domestic abuse and gun-violence awareness. Through all the pain, she’s used each experience to grow into the version of Amy Schumer that she’s supposed to be.

Readers will laugh and cry, and may put the book down from moments of honesty that result in uncomfortable realistic details from her life. More important, the essays challenge readers to harness their own stories and rest in the fact that they’re good enough. Experience the world. Be bold. Love your body. It’s OK to fail and make mistakes. And lower-back tattoos can only make you stronger.

 

On the Web

http://www.amyschumer.com/