Palin's book cover unveiled

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Books Palin Cover.jpg

You know the title, now see the cover of Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.

The former Alaska governor's memoir, a top-seller online weeks before publication, will feature an outdoor shot of Palin, wearing an American flag pin on her red fleece top, eyes turned slightly from the camera as she smiles confidently into the horizon, a patchwork of Alaska blue sky and clouds behind her.

The image was released Thursday by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.

The book, originally planned for next spring, is coming out Nov. 17 with an announced first printing of 1.5 million copies. Palin and collaborator Lynn Vincent finished Going Rogue just two months after Palin's resignation as governor.

Hillel Italie/AP

Excerpts leak from Patrick Swayze's memoir

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"Dirty Dancing" made Patrick Swayze a superstar, but when he first read the script, he found it a little ... clean.

The actor, who died Sept. 14 of cancer, writes in his memoir, "It seemed fluffy -- nothing more than a summer-camp movie."

The memoir The Time of My Life comes out next Tuesday.

Obit Swayze.jpgSwayze's reaction was completely different about another future smash, "Ghost." He immediately wanted to be in it and persuaded producer Jeff Zucker to cast him despite Zucker's skepticism that Swayze could play a sensitive leading man.

Details from the highly anticipated memoir are slipping out all over the Web. Here's a round-up of the juiciest tidbits:

• Swayze did, of course, wind up taking the part in "Dirty Dancing," but some days his work with co-star Jennifer Grey made him wish he hadn't: "We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired or after a long day of shooting. [Grey] seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she'd start laughing. ... I was on overdrive for the whole shoot -- staying up all night to do rewrites, squeezing in dance rehearsals, shooting various scenes -- and was exhausted a lot of the time. I didn't have a whole lot of patience for doing multiple retakes."

• Swayze also remembered working with a then-little known Tom Cruise in Francis Coppola's adaptation of the young adult classic "The Outsiders." Cruise, Swayze writes, was so "self-conscious about his teeth" that he resisted magazine photo shoots.

• The memoir is co-written with his wife Lisa Niemi. When the couple married, they wrote their own vows. Here's what Swayze said to her: "Together, we've created journeys that were beyond anything we could imagine. We have ridden into the sunset on a white stallion, countless times. We've tasted the dust in the birthplaces of religions. Yet you still take my breath away. I'm still not complete until I look in your eyes. You are my woman, my lover, my mate and my lady. I've loved you forever, I love you now and I will love you forevermore."

• Swayze speaks of a life well lived, but he says his one regret was not becoming a father. He and Niemi tried, but after she miscarried the devastated couple didn't conceive again. "I couldn't wait to become a dad, to have a child with this woman I loved so dearly. And I wanted to be the best father I could be -- the kind of father my dad had been to me. I felt completely crushed with grief. We wanted to try again, but the loss had been so devastating that we just couldn't do it right away. We figured we had plenty more years ahead of us. Eventually, we did start trying again hoping Lisa would get pregnant. But she never did."

• The couple's bond, however, remained strong. He reflects: "The one thing I realized as Lisa and I retraced the arc of our lives is that no matter what happened, we never, ever gave up -- on each other, or on our dreams. I'm far from perfect, and I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. But that's one thing we both got right, and it's the one thing that's keeping me going today."

• Swayze writes about how he first got the news about his cancer late in 2007: "I had been having some digestive trouble, mostly acid reflux and a kind of bloated feeling, for a few weeks. I've had a sensitive stomach my whole life, so I hadn't thought much of it, but lately I just couldn't shake the constant discomfort." He knew right away what he was facing. "My doctor told me my chances of surviving for more than a few months weren't high, and I had no reason to doubt him."

hi_res35675090_3.jpg• Swayze filmed his last TV series, "The Beast," in Chicago -- while he was undergoing treatment. "I continued with chemotherapy all the way through the shoot," he writes. "But I never took any painkillers since they dull not only your pain but also your sharpness."

• In the end, he sums up his life this way: "I began thinking to myself, I've had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it's been an amazing ride. So this is okay."

A rep for the actor confirms that, before he died last week, Swayze recorded a reading of his autobiography. That audio-book CD will be available on Tuesday, as well.

Another scandal victim gets book deal

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Lifestyles Advice On Affairs
Jenny Sanford (right) in happier times
with her husband, South Carolina
Gov. Mark Sanford.

Ballantine, a Random House imprint, has announced it will publish Jenny Sanford's "inspirational memoir" next spring. Frankly it took me a minute to remember who she was -- and it wasn't until I saw her name connected to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that I remembered. (The governor admitted a few months ago that he had a yearlong affair with an Argentine woman.)

The publisher says Sanford -- who has since moved out of the governor's mansion but says she and her husband are working to repair their marriage -- "will grapple with the universal issue of maintaining integrity and a sense of self during life's difficult times."

My two cents: Does anyone begrudge a beleaguered spouse the opportunity to tell his or her story? No. But it is questionable as to how many books written by wives of cheating politicians we really need? After Elizabeth Edwards' Resilience and the steeped-in-denial interviews she gave while promoting it, politicians' wives are simply beginning to look gullible, weak and as concerned with appearances as their husbands' campaign managers.

The National Book Awards would like your vote.

Organizers of the prestigious literary prize are asking the public to choose the best fiction winner in the awards' 60-year history.

The six finalists, announced by the National Book Foundation, are:

* The Stories of John Cheever
* Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
* Collected Stories of William Faulkner
* The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor
* Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
* The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

Votes can be cast through the Web site through Oct. 21. The winner will be announced Nov. 18.


Tim Gunn: Fashion crimefighter

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Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn is mentor to fashion designer
wannabes on "Project Runway."

Fashion  Tim Gunn Superhero
Tim Gunn (in gray hair and glasses) as superhero.


Tim Gunn is taking his fight against fashion crimes from the workrooms of "Project Runway" to the pages of a comic book. And, wow, does he get to wear a power suit.

The "Loaded Gunn" story line -- to save an exhibit of extraordinary superhero clothes from a cadre of villains -- is part of a book that reintroduces a group of Marvel's high-fashion "Models Inc." comic characters from the 1960s.

"It's a little 'America's Next Top Model' -- without Tyra (Banks) -- and a little 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,"' says Marvel editor Charlie Beckerman.

The Gunn project evolved on a whim, but it turned out Gunn was a childhood comic fan and a good sport, Beckerman says.

Gunn says the experience has been "the most bizarre thing."

"It's exciting and exhilarating, but bizarre. When they came to me, I said, 'I'm about to turn 56 years old. Are they crazy?' But it kept revealing itself in layers and next thing, I'm wearing the 'Iron Man' suit. I was dumbstruck."

Personally, Gunn says he always fancied himself more of a Batman type, but he's pleased with the result.

"Most superheroes are fighting the same thing -- good vs. evil -- but who's taking on crimes against fashion? Me!"

The biggest offense, hands down: clothes that don't fit properly, Gunn says. And, if he had the truly incredible power to remove one item from closets all around the world, no question it would be Crocs.

"It's the No. 1 fashion crime item -- and I see it a lot," Gunn says.


Mystery no more: Gordy to write 'Moonwalk' intro

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Motown founder Berry Gordy will write the introduction to a reissue of Michael Jackson's memoir, Moonwalk.

A statement released by publisher Harmony Books says Gordy, whose label also featured superstars such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, will offer memories of Jackson as a child star and of the group formed with his brothers, the Jackson 5.

The Jackson 5 broke through 40 years ago with the No. 1 smash "I Want You Back," and had several other hits before fading in the mid-1970s. Michael Jackson, who died June 25, eventually left Motown and made his record-breaking "Thriller" album for Sony.

Jackson's memoir, originally published in 1988, comes out again in October.


Julia outselling Julie

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Mastering Julie & Julia

It seems Meryl Streep's portrayal of the larger-than-life Julia Child in the new film "Julie & Julia" has not only helped propel the late TV chef's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to the top of the book charts again, but also is eclipsing Amy Adams' portrayal of Julie Powell, author of the book upon which the movie is based.

Today on and Barnes& today, a $40 hardcover edition of Child's hefty cookbook -- first published 50 years ago -- topped the best-seller lists, easily outselling the paperback version of Julie & Julia, Powell's memoir about her year trying to cook every recipe in Child's book.

The movie flips back and forth between the the life of Child, as she becomes the French chef and cookbook author that we all knew from TV, and Powell, a New Yorker writing a blog while she attempts to "master the art of French cooking" in her tiny kitchen in her Queens apartment.

Critics, who have not been wowed by the film, have found the "Julia" story more interesting than the "Julie" story, and they're right. I saw the film over the weekend and I enjoyed it very much, though I'd have much preferred to watch Meryl Streep in a complete biopic of just Julia Child.

Chimp memoir on Booker long list

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me cheeta

The purported autobiography of a movie-star chimpanzee is among the contenders for Britain's most prestigious literary award.

Me Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood is one of 13 novels on the Booker Prize longlist.

Originally published anonymously, James Lever's book claims to tell the life story of the chimp who gained 1930s Hollywood stardom in "Tarzan" movies.

Other contenders announced Tuesday are former Booker winners A.S. Byatt and J.M Coetzee, as well as Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall, Samantha Harvey, Hilary Mantel, Simon Mawer, Ed O'Loughlin, James Scudamore, Sarah Waters, William Trevor and Colm Toibin.

The shortlist will be announced Sept. 8 and the winner of the 50,000 pound (about $82,000) prize on Oct. 6.

The Booker is open to writers from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth.


When Random House reissues Michael Jackson's 1988 memoir, Moonwalk, in October, it will include an introduction by a mystery celebrity.

Harmony Books, the Random House imprint re-releasing the book, will divulge only that the mystery celeb is "a well-known figure in the entertainment industry who was close to Michael."

That could be any one of a number of folks -- Quincy Jones, Brook Shields, Lisa Marie Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross. Deepak Chopra, perhaps? Maybe it's his sister, Janet Jackson.

As much as I might like to read some more of Lisa Marie Presley's ramblings about their life together, I'd put my money on Jones or Ross. They've both known Michael Jackson since he was a child star and would both lend a bit of class to the project.

Proceeds from the book, which has been out of print for more than 10 years, will go to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, and to charity.

E. Lynn Harris dies at 54

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7-24 Lachat lynn harris 3
Author E. Lynn Harris. (Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)

Author E. Lynn Harris died while on tour promoting his latest book, Basketball Jones. The openly gay, African-American novelist was 54.