Category Archives: Books

Harper Lee, Author of To Kill a Mockingbird Dead at 89 (1926-2016)

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 05: Pulitzer Prize winner and "To Kill A Mockingbird" author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House November 5, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is given to those who have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 05: Pulitzer Prize winner and “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House November 5, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is given to those who have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The beloved author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” has passed away. Harper Lee was 89. The death announcement was confirmed by Random House, who tweeted the following tribute.

Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. She was childhood friends with fellow author, Truman Capote, on whom she based the Mockingbird character Dill.

Lee’s death was shocking but the cause has not yet been released. Her health had been declining since 2007 when she suffered a stroke. However, Lee seemed to be recovering over the last year.

In 2015 a long lost sequel to her iconic novel was published. “Go Set a Watchman” was released to much anticipation and then acclaim. Yet, speculation abounded over whether her mental state in her final years was sound and especially whether she really wanted that final novel to be released.

Lee, who granted her last interview in 1964, was a private person and most of her 89 years were spent guardedly in her hometown. In 2007, Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, for her outstanding contribution to literature by then president George W. Bush.

She will forever remain one of the most iconic American authors.

Moby (Actual Relative of Herman Melville) Releasing Memoir

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Moby, the singer and musician, is writing a memoir about that great white whale. Or atleast his great white whale metaphorically speaking.

In case you didn’t know and I suspect most don’t (including myself). Moby was born Richard Melville Hall, and is a descendant of Herman Melville the author of iconic novel “Moby Dick.” His nickname, as you might guess, comes from the famous creation of his great-great-great uncle and was given to him by his parents as a child.

Now, the famous musical artist will publish his own memoir next year. Faber will publish, and they’re already calling the book a “masterpiece,” and a “piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account” of Moby’s life path, which took him “from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor, and unlikely success.”

According to a report from The Guardian, famous authors, Salman Rushdie and Dave Eggers have read advance copies, and are giving it their highest marks:

“The writing is terrific, enlivened by a bewildered deadpan humour that makes crazy sense of it all. His ancestor Herman Melville would, I think, be simultaneously revolted and proud,” said Rushdie of the book. The novelist described it as “10 years of Moby’s life, mostly in the decrepit, dangerous, much-loved New York City of the 1990s, a life comically overcrowded, filthy, alcohol-fuelled, vegan, unbelievably noisy, full of spit and semen and some sort of Christianity; and often, suddenly, moving.”

Eggers, meanwhile, said the memoir was “one of the funniest and most accessible books you’ll ever read about an erstwhile Christian/alcoholic vegan electronic music maker”, in which the reader feels welcome “or just as out of place as he feels – in the world of rock and raves and clubs.”

Moby is planning on releasing his official memoir titled “Porcelain” next June.

“Shake Cats” – A Book That Captures Cats in Mid-Shake

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Oh smushed face cats, I didn’t think you could get better. Then I saw this book. “Shake Cats” does a wonderful and beautiful thing. It freezes cats right in the middle of them shaking their heads.

The photography book was put together by photographer Carli Davidson and is called “Shake Cat.” She’s also photographed dogs this way, catching them in mid-shake as well – ears all over the place.

Check out this video below of the cats in slow-motion, shaking majestically from the shoot.

Tatiana Maslany, Haley Joel Osment Voice Joe Hill’s Acclaimed Locke & Key

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The acclaimed graphic novel series from Joel Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez has new life thanks to Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, and Kate Mulgrew! The beloved actors have provided their voice talent to the audio version of the series Locke and Key, available FREE, exclusively from Audible.

A brutal and tragic event drives the Locke family from their home in California to the relative safety of their ancestral estate in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, an old house with powerful keys and fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. As siblings Tyler, Kinsey and Bode Locke discover the secrets of the old house, they also find that it’s home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all.

Maslany, Osment and Mulgrew are joined by a full cast of over fifty voice actors, including cameos by Hill and Rodriguez. Locke & Key is one of the most commercially successful graphic novels in history. The first issue, released in February of 2008, sold out in a single day, and the audiobook promises to be one of Audible’s top ever sellers.

To preview an audio sample of Locke & Key featuring Haley Joel Osment, click here.

Your readers can download Locke & Key for FREE at audible.com/lockeandkey,

Amy Schumer Gets Book Deal – We Will All Read It

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Comedian, actress, and writer, Amy Schumer has signed a book deal that is reportedly worth $8 to $10 million, according to EW.

Schumer currently stars in Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer is more than just an actress and comedian though. She is an icon and feminist hero. Not only does she speak out on things that most would keep quiet but she tends to call it like it is when it comes to things culturally senstive or even norms that should be challenged.

Reportedly, her agent, David Kuhn, sent the book proposal to all the big whigs in publishing after the successful memoirs and books by female comedians like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling became huge hits. EW sources reported that the houses had to make a bid even to get a meeting with Schumer.

The book publisher is currently unnamed but it doesn’t matter because we all know you and I will read whatever she ends up writing.

Carrie Brownstein Announces “HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL” Book Tour

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Musician and “Portlandia” star turned author, Carrie Brownstein, has announced an upcoming book tour for her high anticipated memoir “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl” releasing this fall.

Beginning October 27, Brownstein will visit 11 cities to talk about this honest, funny and deeply personal account of her experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest and forming the pioneering punk-rock band Sleater Kinney.

Miranda July raves, “Carrie tells her story with mesmerizing, often hilarious, honesty.” Kim Gordon hails HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL “the book everyone has been waiting for” and it’s being called “an absolute must” and “revealing and riveting” by Kirkus Reviews (starred review).

Every ticketed event during the book tour will include one signed copy of the memoir. Brownstein will answer audience questions as well as discuss her memoir while featuring special guests.

Below is the full list of HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL tour dates and markets. For additional information and for links to each venue’s ticket page, click here.

BROOKLYN, NY – OCTOBER 27

WORD Bookstore at Saint Vitus Bar

In conversation with Questlove

 

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 28

Barnes & Noble Union Square

In conversation with Gaby Hoffman

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 29

Philadelphia Free Library at The Merriam Theater

In conversation with Aidy Bryant

 

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 30

Pitchfork at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

In conversation with Jessica Hopper

 

AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBER 1

BookPeople at Central Presbyterian Church

In conversation with Liz Lambert

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 3

Vroman’s Bookstore at Pasadena Presbyterian

In conversation with Amy Poehler

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – NOVEMBER 4

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

In conversation with Dave Eggers

 

PORTLAND, OR – NOVEMBER 5

Powell’s Books at The Newmark Theatre

In conversation with a Special Guest TBA

 

SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 6

Elliott Bay Book Company at The Neptune Theater

In conversation with Maria Semple

 

MONTREAL, CANADA – NOVEMBER 16

Drawn & Quarterly at The Rialto Theatre

In conversation with Jessica Hopper

 

TORONTO, CANADA – NOVEMBER 17

Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon

In conversation with Johanna Schneller

GRRM Hasn’t Figured Out the Exact Ending for ASOIAF

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“Game of Thrones” and A Song of Ice and Fire author, George R.R. Martin, revealed recently that he has not yet decided how to end the popular series.  But don’t worry fans, he has an overall tone set for the final book in the series and with those ideas in mind, the HBO show will follow accordingly.

“I haven’t written the ending yet,” Martin said in an interview with the Observer when asked if the ending would be particularly dark. “I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet,” he added.

GRRM said that the Lord of the Rings series provided some inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire. 

“It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives,” he said. Martin says that’s exactly the sort of tone he’ll be aiming for with the Song of Ice and Fire ending.

When it comes to the HBO show, the producers have said many times that they know what to do if something happens and the book series is never completed. David Benioff, one of the main writers and producers, explained that they have had MANY conversations with GRRM about the show and the direction in which the books are heading. Benioff also explained that GRRM “makes a lot of stuff up as he’s writing it. Even while we talk to him about the ending, it doesn’t mean that that ending that he has currently conceived is going to be the ending when he eventually writes it.”

The sixth season of the HBO series is currently filming in Northern Ireland.

Matthew McConaughey Reads “Summer Farmer” from White Man’s Problems

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The critically acclaimed collection of short stories White Man’s Problems written by Kevin Morris is getting the audio book treatment! Each of the short stories will be read by myriad Hollywood stars including Matthew McConaughey, John C. McGinley, Minnie Driver, Pete Yorn, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

White Man’s Problems takes a philosophical, poignant and occasionally humorous look at modern life. David Carr of The New York Times called Morris’ work “a remarkable…brightly lit noir about the scariness of getting what you want.” Michael Wolff of USA Today compared Morris to American literary giants John Cheever, John Updike and Raymond Carver.

One of the short stories, “Summer Farmer,” will be narrated by McConaughey and will be available for FREE starting August 4.  Listen to an audiosample of Academy Award-winner Matthew McConaughey performing “Summer Farmer”here.

A full roster of narrators is included below, as well as a links to audio samples:

The full collection is available exclusively from Audible on August 11. Your readers can download “Summer Farmer” for free and pre-order White Man’s Problems at audible.com/wmp

James Franco Co-Wrote A Book About Lana Del Rey

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James Franco has told us repeatedly that he is a literary guy even though we repeatedly tell him “yeahhhhh sure.” But in reality he has published short stories and screenplays not to mention adapting iconic classic novels into films. Recently he took his prowess a step further as he teamed up with New York Times bestselling author David Shields to write a book about singer Lana Del Rey, called Flip Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations With Lana Del Rey.

Franco was once Shields student while he was working towards his  creative writing MFA through the Warren Wilson Program, and the two also co-wrote and directed the film adaptation for I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel.

The actor has previously alluded to the book back in January when he wrote a tribute to his pop star friend and apparent muse in V Magazine called “Shades of Cool.” In the end of the ode, he added, “I wanted to interview Lana for a book and she said, ‘Just write around me; it’s better if it’s not my own words. It’s almost better if you don’t get me exactly, but try.’” According to Rolling Stone, the mention turned into a 100 page book to be released next year via Penguin Random House.

“Lana has become my friend. She is a musician who is a poet and a video artist. She grew up on the East Coast but she is an artist of the West Coast,” Franco wrote in Vof the Born to Die songstress. “When I watch her stuff, when I listen to her stuff, I am reminded of everything I love about Los Angeles. I am sucked into a long gallery of Los Angeles cult figurines, and cult people, up all night like vampires and bikers. The only difference between Lana and me is her haunting voice. That carries everything. The voice is the central axle around which the spokes of everything else extend.”

Flip Side is due out on March 15, 2016.

John Malkovich Narrates Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions”

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John Malkovich is taking on a classic novel by Kurt Vonnegut that has bewitched generations. The two-time Academy Award-nominated actor uses his distinctive voice and recognizable depth to bring “Breakfast of Champions” to life in an incredible performance narrating the novel for Audible.

“Breakfast for Champions” will release the audiobook version narrated by Malkovich on Tuesday, June 23. In addition to Breakfast of Champions, Audible will release other essential Vonnegut titles including, Deadeye Dick, Bluebeard, Hocus Pocus, Palm Sunday and The Sirens of Titan, to celebrate the life’s work of the visionary author.

Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut’s eighth novel, is one of the legendary author’s most acclaimed works. The story follows Kilgore Trout, a talented yet undiscovered science-fiction writer who travels to Midland City to speak at an arts convention. In Midland City, Trout meets Dwayne Hoover, a successful businessman who is slowly losing his mind. Hoover becomes infatuated with Trout’s writings and takes them as the absolute truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

To listen to a clip of John Malkovich performing Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Breakfast of Champions click here.

You can pre-order John Malkovich’s performance of Breakfast of Champions and other Vonnegut essentials at audible.com/vonnegut