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‘Dance Moms’ 13-Year-Old Star To Pen Memoir, Fiction Trilogy

maddie-ziegler-435Some people spend their entire lives writing to pen the perfect book. For Maddie Zeigler, it only took 13  years. But wait. That is her entire life considering the Dance Moms star is just 13  years old.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Zeigler is working on writing both a memoir and a YA trilogy about dance for Gallery Books and Aladdin Books. The Maddie Diaries will reflect on her years starring the Lifetime reality TV show Dance Moms. It will also include advice and lessons for teens and dancers. It’s set to be released in March of 2017.

Her fiction novels will also be about — you guessed it! — young dancers. The novels are set to be released in the Fall 2017, Fall 2018 and Fall 2019.

IMHO, there will always be a market for people who want to read about dancers — whether it’s young people who dream of being professional dancers or those — like me — who used to dance and feel a sense of nostalgia when they read books about it (see Astonish Me).

Zeigler is a famous dancer, best known for Dance Moms and for playing mini-Sia in many of popstar Sia’s music videos and performances. Currently Zeigler is a judge on the kids version of So You Think You Can Dance.

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‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ ‘Committed’ Author Separates from Husband

liz_03Normally, I wouldn’t blog about gossip-related items, but in this case, it’s the subject of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love and Committed is separating from her husband. Her husband is the man she met on her trip to Bali and the same man she wrote about and called “Felipe” in her memoir.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the author posted about the separation on Facebook, explaining “Because I have shared details of my private life with you all so intimately over the years, I feel the need to share with you this recent change in my personal life…He has been my dear companion for over 12 years, and they have been wonderful years. Our split is very amicable. Our reasons are very personal.”

Much of Committed was about her fascination with marriage and discussion about why we, as modern-day Americans, make such a big deal out of getting married. Her reasons for marrying weren’t want and desire. She married because of obligation. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she and her husband are separating. After all, is that what she really wanted to begin with?

It’s hard to know the answer to that. And it’s hard to write about this and her, knowing that she’s not, in fact, a character, but a real person. All I have to say is I commend her for her openness and honesty. I respect that she announced it and agree that because she wrote about her love and marriage to “Felipe,” it’s only fair she acknowledge her separation from him as well. Their story may be over, but hopefully her stories are not.

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Bryan Cranston To Release Memoir This Fall

“I am the one who knocks” on your…bookshelf? That’s right. Actor Bryan Cranston, who played the infamously beloved Walter White on five seasons of Breaking Bad, is set to release a memoir, A Life in Parts, October 18.

According to Entertainment Weekly, it will includes sections about his most famous roles, including Walter White and the dad on Malcolm in the Middle, as well as sections about his real life.

The best part, though, are the front and back covers of the memoir, which portray Cranston’s uncanny ability to be seemingly friendly and seemingly ferocious. (Truth be told, my fiance and his family ran into Bryan Cranston a few years ago in New York City and said he was extremely friendly.)

Aside from being a big Breaking Bad fan, I have always been fascinated by actors who can vacillate between comedy and drama, as well as those who hit their prime later in life like Cranston did. Coming off one of the most best television series in recent memory, Cranston’s memoir is sure to sell well.

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‘Clarissa’ Audiobook Now Available

Is it just me or is 2016 becoming more and more nostalgic for the 90’s? First comes the Fuller House reboot. Now author Mitchell Kriegman’s book, Things I Can’t Explain: A Clarissa Novel is available on Audible. The book is based on 90’s character Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All.

The audiobook — just released today — is voiced by Melissa Joan Hart’s sister, Emily Hart Madar. (Melissa Joan Hart played Clarissa in the 90’s television series.) Below is a special five-minute clip from the audiobook:

The book follows a grown-up Clarissa as she navigates her 20’s. I listened to the clip this mooring, and have to say it’s perfect for what it is. It definitely has more of a YA feel, but that’s the audience the show always targeted, and it’s a smart way to aim for a new generation of Clarissa fans.

You can download the Audible version of Things I Can’t Explain here.

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Eighth ‘Harry Potter’ Book Coming This Summer

harry-potter-cursed-child-posterClearly, I wasn’t kidding when I — just last week! — blogged that J.K. Rowling amazingly continues to find ways to churn out Harry Potter books. 

That amazingness will continue this summer when she releases a new eighth installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (!!!). According to CNN, the book is actually a two-part play that picks up where the last novel in the series left off — with Harry now a father to son, Albus.

The play is set to debut in London this summer, and the script book of the play will be released the next day, at midnight on July 31st. It’s the first official Potter story to be performed on stage. The original story comes from Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

So why the book version if it’s already being performed on stage? The better question is why not? Little, Brown Book Group CEO David Shelley said in a press release, “J.K. Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can’t be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format — and so we are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them.”

This is a special rehearsal edition. A finalized version will be released later, in case the writers make any changes to the play that would then need to be reflected in the book.

J.K. Rowling, everyone — the Harry Potter gift that keeps on giving!

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Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Released in Germany for First Time in 70 Years

76793512Mein Kampf, or what would be translated as My Story, is the autobiographical book that helped place Adolf Hitler in a position of power in Germany before WWII. Because of that, the German state of Bavaria refused to print the book after Germany lost World War II. But as of January 1, 2016, the book’s copyright expired, and now Mein Kampf has reached bestseller status.

 

According to Mic, only 4,000 copies were planned the first printing of this new — and annotated — edition. As of last week, pre-orders hit 15,000.

The new version was annotated those reading it for scholarly use. An author featured last week on NPR’s “Fresh Air” said Mein Kampf is written in mostly statements, not arguments, and that the book is less impactful than Hitler’s speeches and oratory at the time. He had no fears about what the reprint of the book could mean. Other supporters also agree that the book serves an educational and scholarly purpose.

But since our current world still experiences so much hatred toward other ethnicities, races and religions, it’s hard for me to understand the good that the re-release of Mein Kampf brings. I believe in free speech, and as a Jewish person, I am curious to try and understand where his anti-Semitism started. But the thought of a vulnerable, irrational person reading this also makes me nervous.

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RIP Alan Rickman, the Man Who Brought Severus Snape to Life

severus-snape-in-alan-rickman-s-own-words-is-one-of-the-most-heart-felt-tributes-you-will-429332Just four days after the birthday of the character he became famous for playing, British actor Alan Rickman has died of cancer at the age of 69.

Rickman is known for his roles in many movies, including Die Hard, Robin Hood, and Love Actually, but for most millennials, he’s probably best known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, which is why for many other 20-somethings and myself, hearing the news of his death this morning came as a complete — and painful — shock.

Rickman’s portrayal of Snape was much more than just a role acted out on screen. It was the personification of a character that is so meaningful to children and literature. Snape was the first character I loved to hate. He teaches children the complexity of adulthood and shows how childhood affects who you become as an adult. Snape represents the idea that people aren’t always who they seem and that there is inherent good and evil in all of us. Rickman excelled at bringing this complexity to the screen and emotion to our hearts.

The entire Harry Potter series is nostalgic for many of us, who have either read the books, seen the movies or both. The death of an actor who is so representative of a beloved character makes it feel like part of my childhood ended today. But there is also some tragic beauty that comes with the thought that Rickman has possibly met Snape in his death.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted about Rickman’s death today, but several years ago when the Potter films were completed, Rickman wrote a letter for Empire Magazine, in which he wrote this about Rowling: “It is an ancient need to be told stories. But the story needs a great storyteller.” The same could be said for Rickman — another storyteller in his own right. Thank you, Alan Rickman. And Severus Snape. Always.

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You Can Help Write New Taylor Swift Book

do-no-reuse-taylor-swift-the-beat-bb36-sarah-barlow-billboard-6501It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Taylor Swift’s debut album was released. (Actually, I remember well the first time I heard it — played by my college roommate on repeat in our freshman year dorm — it just seems completely implausible that THAT was 10 years ago.) To commemorate that time — for Taylor, not me — Simon & Schuster is planning to publish a book about the pop superstar, according to Entertainment Weekly Oddly, it’s the first major book to be released about her.

Much like some of her album covers and Instagram account, the book about Swift will be a sort of scrapbook paying homage to the singer. The book is set to include fan art, concert photos and articles published about the singer over the years as well as the press release for her first album.

But here’s the cool part: Simon & Schuster is asking that fans contribute by suggesting their favorite published pieces about Swift and coming up with a title and cover for the book. The publishing company is also looking for someone to serve as the “honorary author” and face of the book. Article suggestions can be made by emailing tips@swiftfanbook.com and photos can be sent it by emailing images@swiftfanbook.com, but if you’re interested in authoring the book, designing the cover or creating the title, you can enter various contests. Here are the details, from EW:

Title contest: The book’s title will be determined by a contest. Fans are invited to submit the title they think the book should have, along with a brief essay of 250 words or less in support of their title, with the winning title to be chosen by Simon & Schuster. The fan who wins will receive a $2,500 payment and credit in the published book. This contest will run from Dec. 13, 2015, through Jan. 13, 2016, and entries may be made at www.SwiftFanBook.com.

Honorary authorship contest: Although the book is a group effort, Simon & Schuster is looking for one super-Swiftie to serve as its honorary author and the face of the book to the public. That fan, whose name will appear on the cover and help select content for the book and promote it, will also be chosen via a contest. Fans who think they have the passion, knowledge, creativity, and charisma for the role can make their case in a video of three minutes or less to be uploaded at www.SwiftFanBook.com. The winner will be chosen by Simon & Schuster and receive a $10,000 payment. At the time of publication, the author will be flown to New York for a press tour, a book signing in Manhattan, potential appearances on major media outlets, and more. This contest will run from Dec. 13, 2015, through Jan. 13, 2016.

Cover contest: Once the book’s title and author have been determined and announced, fans with a flair for graphic design can create the cover they think the book should have. The winning cover design may be used on the published book, with the designer to receive credit on the book jacket and a $5,000 payment. This contest will run from Feb. 1, 2016, through March 1, 2016, and submissions should be uploaded at www.SwiftFanBook.com.

The book’s planned release is October 24, 2016 — brilliant, considering it’s just in time for next holiday season, and I imagine a lot of young teenage girls will want a copies for Christmas and Chanukkah.

Though Swift has officially endorsed this project, it seems to be something she would absolutely support since there’s nothing she loves more than interacting with fans through social media and always thanks her fans for the cute ways in which they acknowledge her. Not to mention it’s the easiest — and probably cheapest — way to put together a book that is sure to make a lot of money. You can join the conversation about it online using the hashtag #SwiftFanBook

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Amy Schumer the Next Comedienne To Pen Memoir

In the growing list of female comedians who already have or plan to pen memoirs or books of essays — Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick — we now have another to add to the list: Amy Schumer.

Who’s surprised? Not me! She’s had a fantastic year, and now Entertainment Weekly is reporting her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, sold for between $8-10 million. Apparently her book was shopped to publishers all over Manhattan, but Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Book finally put in the highest bid.

No word on when the book is set to be published, but I think it’s safe to say it’s bound to be a bestseller!

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Jack Black, David Oyelowo Voicing Audiobooks

Having recently listened to an audiobook (stay tuned for a review coming next week!), i know the value of the perfect person voicing the book to which you’re listening. That’s why this news is all the more significant. ‘

According to Entertainment Weekly, actors Jack Black and David Oyelowo are both voicing audiobooks.

Jack Black is reading and recording The Little Shop of Monsters, a picture book created by Goosebumps and Arthur creators R.L. Stine and Marc Brown. The book already came out this Tuesday.

David Oyelowo is voicing the latest James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis. You might think he’s the first black actor to voice Bond, but actually he’s not. Hugh Quarshie did the famous spy’s voice in the Dr. No audiobook that was released in 2012. But that doesn’t mean the concept of a black actor playing Bond is lost on anyone. In fact, there are several talks and much speculation about Daniel Craig’s next replacement being a black actor. But for now, it’s Oyelowo who holds all the cards.

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