Monthly Archives: September 2013

‘Today’ To Start Its Own Book Club

Though Oprah Winfrey resurrected her famous Oprah’s Book Club last year with Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, producers at NBC still felt TV viewers throughout the country were lacking in the book club department. Hence, the new Today book club.

According to The New York Times, it’s part of The Today Show‘s attempt to revive and substantiate the show, adding something Good Morning America doesn’t have. The Today book club will feature roughly one book a month, and will air interviews with the books’ authors during the morning show. The books will feature stickers, so they’ll be easily recognized as a Today Show pick.

Oprah’s Book Club brought a lot of success to the publishing industry — most of her selected books skyrocketed to bestsellers — and to Oprah herself. Publishers, authors, and the staff at Today are hoping to mirror that success with the new book club. The only problem — Oprah had Oprah to help boost the sales. People listened to her. Today doesn’t have that one person to make people listen. Either way, books and authors are starting to, once again, get the media coverage they’ve been lacking for so long.

According to the L.A. Times, the blogging site Tumblr is following suit, starting its own book club.

1 Comment

Filed under News Articles

Billy Joel to Publish Previously Cancelled Memoir

It took a couple years, but now it’s finally happening. A Billy Joel biography is due to be released next year. A memoir/biography was originally set to be released in 2011.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the drama started when HarperCollins paid Joel $3 million to publish a memoir, entitled The Book of Joel, with co-writer Fred Schruers. But Joel cancelled the book at the last minute, placing the blame on HarperCollins, as Tim Appelo explains.

Joel told The New York Times that HarperCollins editors caused him to kill the previous book.

“They said to Fred, ‘We need more of the sex and the wives and the girlfriends and drinking and divorce and the depression.’ I covered it all. But I didn’t go into detail about my personal life. If they want to poke Fred with red-hot needles to get him to make up salacious details, go ahead, but I’m not going to do it. I’m not a psychoanalyst. I don’t know why I drank so much.”

So why now? Well, back in 2011, he had a spat with Elton John over cancelled tour dates because of hip pain. And now, it seems that Billy Joel is on a roll. He recently performed at the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and this year was selected as one of the Kennedy Center honorees.  Not to mention, many classic rockers like himself are having success with recently published books — Keith Richards, Bruce Springstein, Paul McCartney.

Crown, a division of Random House, is now publishing the book, which is due in the spring of 2014.

After waiting for the longest time (see what I did there?), there’s a good chance a Billy Joel bio (especially one with as good a name as The Book of Joel) is bound for greatness.

1 Comment

Filed under Author News, News Articles

J.K. Rowling Keeps Busy With Wizarding Movie Series

After each of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books was turned into a movie, it seemed like the HP days were over. But things haven’t stopped for Rowling (she’s since published The Casual Vacancy and detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling), and now, it appears, the wizarding world must also go on.

According to the Associated Press, J.K. Rowling will write the screenplays for a new movie series for Warner Bros. based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Then, the fictional textbook she created in the Harry Potter series.

In the Harry Potter books, the Fantastic Beasts was written by fictional author Newt Scamander. But this new film series won’t have anything to do with the character Harry Potter at all. It will take place 70 years before the start of Harry’s story, in New York.

Rowling didn’t write the screenplays for any of the HP films, so this will be a first for her. But she’s also returning back to her fantastical comfort zone of wizards, and with her built-in audience, my guess is these movies will be hits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author News

Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Recap: It’s a death that has as much media coverage as the death of a One Direction member would warrant. Lula Landry, one of newest, youngest, and most gorgeous models in Britain has died. Lying on the ground next to her apartment building in London, Lula Landry appears to have fallen from her balcony. But was she pushed or did she jump? Considering her troubled history with drugs and mental instability, it is widely assumed that she jumped. After all, who would want to kill Lula Landry? But with all her fame, money, and beauty, the better question is who wouldn’t want to kill her?

That’s where Detective Cormoran Strike comes in. He’s hired by Lula’s adoptive brother, John Bristow, to delve deeper into Landry’s death. The offer couldn’t come at a better time for Strike, who’s been recently dumped, kicked out of his apartment, and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Considering how long it’s been since he’s had regular work, he’s a bit rusty. But when a new temporary secretary, Robin, starts working for him, she becomes more of an asset than he ever imagined a secretary could be.

Ultimately Strike and Robin unravel the case of Lula Landry, with lots of key players and lots of evidence previously overlooked by police.

Analysis: In one of only two books in her post-Harry Potter days, author J.K. Rowling (under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) proves yet again that her easy-to-follow writing and complex web of characters with oh-so-many motives makes for a book that’s tough to put down. The more each character is described, the more we want to know what happens.

That being said, The Cuckoo’s Calling is — for the most part — your average detective novel. It also feels quite a bit longer than it needs to be. Written in third-person, the book comes from the perspective of Strike, so as readers, we get to play detective right along with him.

But Rowling/Galbraith does one thing that sets The Cuckoo’s Calling apart from the rest of today’s detective novels: considering Strike’s recent professional misfortune, it’s unclear if he’s actually capable of doing the job. Usually in a mystery like this, the detective is described as being one of the best, so it’s no surprise when he solves the case. Here, there’s some uncertainty – can Strike solve the case? Is there even a case to be solved? Those are the questions that keep the book moving.

MVP: Strike and Robin, collectively. The two make a good team. Even with little history or experience working together, their determination makes for a solid bit of detective work, while a friendship between them blossoms.

Get The Cuckoo’s Calling in hardcover for $15.19.

Or get it on your Kindle for $5.99.

8 Comments

Filed under Reviews

‘Mockingbird’ Author Harper Lee Settles Copyright Lawsuit

The story of To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee’s copyright lawsuit has come to an end. As I earlier reported, Harper Lee filed a lawsuit against her former agent’s son-in-law, for not properly protecting the copyright of To Kill a Mockingbird.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the author and the defendants in the case have reached an agreement. The details of the settlement are still unclear, but a court filing regarding the case was dismissed last week.

There you have it — drama-free Harper Lee. I wonder if recent talk about the lawsuit helped boost sales?

1 Comment

Filed under Author News

Jason Priestly to Pen Memoir with ‘90210’ Scoop

Leave it to the stars of yesteryear to jump at the chance to write a memoir. Jason Priestly, of Beverly Hills, 90210, is the latest actor to jump on the bandwagon.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Priestly, who played Brandon Walsh on the beloved hit series (which ran for 10 years, from 1990 to 2000), agreed to a multiple six-figure advance with HarperCollins to write the still untitled memoir. The book will include details about his struggles with alcohol — including a drunken driving charge from 1998 — and his tumultuous relationship with 90210 creator Aaron Spelling.

The memoir is expected to be released in spring 2014.

1 Comment

Filed under News Articles

Amazon Announces Kindle Matchbook Service

Expanding the digital library on your Kindle just got a whole lot cheaper. Amazon announced a new service this week called Kindle Matchbook.

According to Entertainment Weekly, people looking to buy e-books for their Kindle that they’ve already bought in print can now do it through Amazon for a discounted price. Amazon Matchbook applies to any print book a customer has bought from Amazon since 1995, when Amazon first started. Matchbook will allow customers to check their purchase history to see what they’ve bought and buy the books in e-book form for $2.99 (some are even free), rather than paying full-price for the books they already own.

The program is set to launch next month. Amazon spokespeople say it will have 10,000 e-books available for discounted prices.

On a personal note, I think this is a great idea. I’ve always thought it was bad business to have to buy two copies of the same book if you want it on your e-reader. I wondering how long it will take for Barnes & Noble to come up with a similar plan for its Nook?

2 Comments

Filed under News Articles