Tag Archives: biography

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.

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New JD Salinger Books On the Way

The famed Catcher in the Rye author, JD Salinger, passed away in 2010, and was famously known not to have published much of anything after the 1960s. But that latter fact may soon change.

According to The Huffington Post, the two men who recently co-wrote a biography about the author — entitled Salinger — have revealed that a series of posthumous Salinger releases are set for 2015-2020. Authors David Shields and Shane Salerno spend nine years working on the biography about Salinger. Their book will be released September 3rd.

In that book, they credit two independent and separate sources that say previously unpublished Salinger material will be released. One of the books includes the Catcher protagonist Holden Caulfield. Another publication would feature the Glass family from Franny and Zooey.

The new biography Salinger is 700 pages, and has a lot of other information about the famous author, as Hillel Italie explains.

The book is structured as an oral history, featuring hundreds of new and old interviews, excerpts from newspaper accounts and previous biographies and commentary from Shields and Salerno. Those quoted range from Salinger’s children to authors Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal to Mark David Chapman, who cited “Catcher” as a reason he murdered John Lennon in 1980.

It’s still unclear exactly how much material will be published over the course of the five years, but the real question is: will it live up to JD Salinger’s previous publications?

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New Salinger Book and Movie On the Way

For years, people have questioned the work of J.D. Salinger, always wondering if the famous author of The Catcher in the Rye secretly had any other work to offer the literary world. At long last, we may finally find out.

According to Huffington Post, a new biography and film about the life of J.D. Salinger are set to be released in the next year. Simon & Schuster recently acquired The Private War of J.D. Salinger, an oral biography put together by David Shields and screenwriter Shane Salerno. A documentary about the author is set to air on PBS’s American Masters series next January.

Salinger died in 2010, and an authorized biography is yet to be released. Very little is known about the author, and it’s still not entirely clear whether or not the biography or film will include details about possible other work from the author. But it’s likely to tell an historical tale as well, as Hillel Italie explains.

“Both the film and book are an investigation into the cost of art and the cost of war,” Simon & Schuster senior editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler said in a statement. “This is a truly revelatory work, and one that transcends literary biography to investigate the larger story of the legacy of World War II. Through the prism of Salinger’s life and his experience at war, the authors are presenting a personal history of the 20th century.”

Salinger was reportedly deeply scarred by his service during World War II, when he interrogated prisoners of war.

It sounds interesting, but the real question is whether or not Salinger has a secret, unpublished manuscript. If so, will it be released? And would it top The Catcher in the Rye? Or is it best left undiscovered?

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‘The Jefferson Lies’ Bestseller Dropped by Publisher for Factual Errors

It takes a lot to have a publisher completely drop an author’s book and ask that bookstores stop selling it. Such is the case with David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson.

According to Huffington Post, publisher Thomas Nelson decided to stop the presses after the bestseller took heat for having factual errors. The Jefferson Lies is Barton’s attempt at telling the “true” story of Jefferson, one that makes him seem less racist, less bigoted, and less secularist, as Meredith Bennett-Smith explains.

In an early press release for the book, Barton was depicted as a historian’s version of David, battling against the Goliath forces of secularizing liberal revisionists, USA Today notes.

“History books routinely teach that Jefferson was an anti-Christian secularist, rewriting the Bible to his liking, fathering a child with one of his slaves, and little more than another racist, bigoted colonist — but none of those claims are actually true,” the press release stated.

But as it turned out, many of Barton’s claims were hard to verify, and in July the book was voted “the least credible history book in print,” by readers of the History News Network.

Religious groups were starting to organize protests, while other religious experts condemned Barton’s writing. Now it’s finally come to a head. The book is still available through Amazon, but Thomas Nelson has stopped new shipments, recalled copies from bookstores and asked other retailers to stop selling the e-book.

I don’t know about you, but all this controversy actually makes me want to read the book more than ever. Am I the only curious one? What do you guys think?

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Review: My Story, My Song

Recap: Every person who has reached a high level of success has done so because of his or her parents. If the person had good parents, they motivated and supported their children. If the person had bad parents, he or she learned from their mistakes and chose not to repeat them.

That’s why the story of Lucimarian Roberts, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts’ mother, is so inspiring. She is one of the good parents – a mother who encouraged her children to keep trying and who taught them the importance of love, kindness, and bravery. That’s the story we read in My Story, My Song, which was told to Missy Buchanan by Lucimarian Roberts. It also features chapter commentary from Robin Roberts herself.

­­Lucimarian Roberts was the first person in her family to attend college – Howard University on a scholarship, no less. She married one of the original — and few black — Tuskegee Airmen. She raised four successful children, and moved them around the world to 27 different places because of her husband’s job. She taught. She played piano, sang, and recorded a CD. She gave back to her community, participating in Church groups and local organizations wherever she lived. Not to mention, she lived through Hurricane Katrina, survived a bad case of pneumonia, mourned the loss of her husband in 2004, and dealt with her daughter Robin’s battle with cancer.

Lucimarian Roberts shares her story in this spiritual, uplifting book that makes you realize anything is possible.

Analysis: It’s clear that Lucimarian Roberts is a strong woman. She relies on God and music to fight through the difficult times. In My Story, My Song, she tells her story, lesson by lesson instead of chronologically. It works, allowing the reader to focus on what she did and not when she did it.

As a fan of Robin Roberts, however, I had hoped to hear more from Robin herself. Robin writes commentaries for each chapter, but they’re brief anecdotes that don’t entirely correspond with the chapter.  Lucimarian delivers small glimpses into Robin’s life, like the Thanksgiving she spent with Robin and Diane Sawyer after her husband passed away —  but it took me a while to realize this story’s not nearly as much about Robin as it is about Lucimarian.

The story is also very focused on religion, including Bible passages and hymns throughout the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not something that piques my interest. However, I respect that this is a large part of Roberts’ life and therefore makes sense that it’s included.

That being said, it’s still a moving story about a woman who has had to deal with so much and seems to have conquered it all.

MVP: Lucimarian Roberts. Read above.
Get My Story, My Song in hardcover now for $10.98.

Or get it on your Kindle for $9.99.

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Bad Timing for Now Outdated Joe Paterno Biography

When sportswriter and biographer Joe Posnanski started writing a book about Penn State football’s former coach Joe Paterno this past January, it began as a story about college football’s winningest coach, who was forced to deal with a massive scandal toward the end of his life.

But six months later, the story of Joe Paterno has changed dramatically, and yet Posnanski’s biography of the coach, entitled Paterno, is still set to come out next month. According to The New York Times, publisher Simon & Schuster is now limiting its press for the biography, cancelling events from the tour and interviews with the author.

After all, most of the information in the Paterno biography is now out of date. Earlier this month, the Freeh report, released by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, found that Paterno failed to report accusations of child sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1998. As a result, the Joe Paterno statue was removed from the outside of Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, and PSU suffered a number of sanctions, including vacating Paterno’s wins from the past 14 years — meaning Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in college football.

But with Simon & Schuster already acquiring the book for $750,000 and printing 75,000 copies , it’s too late to make any changes. Simon & Schuster is now defending their decision to move forward with the book, as Julie Bosman explains.

If Simon & Schuster were to lose close to $1 million on the book, it would be an unpleasant but not particularly significant sum for an imprint of its size.

[Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan] Karp heatedly defended his author, pointing out that the book had been under a strict embargo and that review copies had not been distributed. Few people, he said, have read it.

“I will say this — I think there has been a lot online about this book,” Mr. Karp said. “And I’m amazed by some of the vitriol with regard to Joe Posnanski, who is a truly gifted writer. People can pass all the judgment they want about Joe Paterno, but Joe Posnanski deserves a chance to be read.”

According to the article, however, some smaller bookstores have already decided not to carry the book.

This is not the first time a quickly-written bio has faced bad-timing issues. Earlier this year, a number of Jeremy Lin books were written, prior to his trade from the New York Knicks. Those books were soon outdated.

Will Simon & Schuster be able to take the blow? Probably. But it’s not going to do much for Joe Paterno, except for remind people of the scandal that has stained his career.

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Jeremy Linsanity Books Published Too Late?

The overnight sensation that is — or rather, was — Jeremy Lin is undeniable, and when something or someone becomes such a hot topic so quickly, authors jump at the chance to write about it.

Since New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin created “Linsanity” nationwide, more than 80 titles about him have already hit bookstores and digital shelves. But according to Huffington Post, his knee injury could be as damaging to publishers as it is to him.

Now that he’s been benched, Linsanity isn’t quite as Linsane anymore. Fans have lost interest, and therefore, so have readers. It’s nearly impossible now to market the books, which just a few months ago could have been instant bestsellers, as Ron Dicker explains.

An estimated dozen more titles are scheduled for release before the end of the year, and none of the print entries so far has sold more than a few thousand copies, according to Jim Milliot, the editorial director of Publishers Weekly…The full-court press of Linsanity quickie books illustrates the gamble that publishers take in pouncing on trends. Trends peter out. Since the pixie dust appears to have stopped falling on Lin’s fairy tale, it’s hard to generate any kind of book buzz, Milliot explained.

While the books may become marketable again when Lin returns to the court, there’s no guarantee that he’ll even be playing with the Knicks or playing well. Will people still care? Or will the story change entirely into one not about an overnight sensation but a comeback kid? It’s interesting how much of an effect a star basketball player’s knee injury would affect publishers across the country. Kind of nutty, no?


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Get The Life and Death of Whitney Houston E-Book for $2.99, Free for Amazon Prime Users

Let’s be honest. We all love us some Whitney. With the shocking news of her death, people all over the world fell in the love with the superstar again and the songs for which she’s best remembered.

Houston died only two weeks ago, but former E! Entertainment Television host and bestselling author Michael Essany has already put released a book about the life and death of the Grammy Award-winning artist. The unauthorized book includes the reactions from Houston’s close family and friends — including Clive Davis, Mariah Carey, and Simon Cowell.

Houston’s longtime love Bobby Brown is also shopping a tell-all book, though there’s no telling whether or not it will actually happen. According to this article by Entertainment Weekly, Brown is not on good terms with Houston’s family, and they may not allow his book to move forward.

But Essany’s book already available in e-book version.

It’s just $2.99 for Kindle users, and FREE for Amazon Prime members.

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Get Audrey Hepburn eBook for just $2.99

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman was on the New York Times bestseller list during the summer of 2010, and with good reason.

Though author Sam Wasson did not intend for his biographical book becoming a bestseller, it had every reason to. The book details the making of  Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which won two Oscars and received three other nominations in 1962. It delves into the difficulties of turning Truman Capote’s novel into a Hollywood movie and the massive impact that Audrey Hepburn had on American fashion and feminism after it was released.

You can still get a physical copy of the book for $10, but if you have an e-reader, getting the eBook for just $2.99 is a no-brainer. I bought it and can’t wait to start reading!

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Get Steve Jobs Biography in Hardcover for $17, Down from $35

It’s one of — if not THE — bestselling book of the year. Steve Jobs changed the world of technology, and as much as we know about him, there’s very little we know about his personal life and the way he thought. Now’s your chance to find out with this inside look. Get Steve Jobs in hardcover for just $17 — down from $35. Grab it while the offer lasts.

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