August 2008 Archives

Biden book suddenly popular again

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Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden has become Promises to Keep: The Acclaimed Memoir of the Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate.

That's Random House's swift capitalization of Biden's being tapped by presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The new paperback edition of Biden's 2007 best seller -- which originally was going to be released after the election -- will arrive in stores Thursday. The publisher has ordered a printing of 100,000

Promises to Keep

''Bringing out the hardcover last year during the hectic lead-in to the primaries didn't help the book because it was perceived by some to be a campaign tool," said Tom Perry, a deputy publisher at Random House. "It's actually a fine and moving memoir ... this is a new opportunity for the book and it's a great way to get to know who this man is and what he stands for."

Biden has served in the U.S. senate for 35 years.

Here's what the Christian Science Monitor had to say about the book: "Joe Biden's Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics is the most unlikely of campaign biographies: It's a ripping good read... Biden is a master storyteller and has stories worth telling. From conversations with President Bush and world leaders to overcoming personal tragedies and a childhood stutter, the book is paced to keep the pages turning."

Connery unveils autobiography

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EDINBURGH, Scotland -- He's recognized around the world as the iconic face of James Bond. But in Britain, Sean Connery is also well known as a proud Scot, and today he returned to his hometown to launch his autobiography.

Being a Scot -- which doesn't yet appear to have a U.S. release date -- looks at Connery's early life as a milkman in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge neighborhood, then delves into a wide-ranging look at Scottish culture including the work of poet Robert Burns, novelist Sir Walter Scott and Mary, Queen of Scots.

sean connery 2
Sean Connery unveiled Being A Scot at the Edinburgh Book Festival today in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

''It will illuminate what Fountainbridge's most famous former milkman thinks of many aspects of Scottish culture and life, including sport, architecture, and of course the gothic tendency in Scots literature,'' said Edinburgh International Book Festival director Catherine Lockerbie.

Connery is a vocal supporter of the pro-independence Scottish National Party. He lives in the Bahamas and has said he will not reside in Scotland until it gains independence from the United Kingdom.

He was the first -- and, many say, the best -- Bond. In a six-decade career, Connery also starred in ''Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,'' ''The Hunt for Red October'' and ''The Untouchables,'' which earned him an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

The unveiling of Being a Scot coincides with Connery's 78th birthday. The actor is appearing at the book festival alongside his co-author, the filmmaker and writer Murray Grigor.

The Edinburgh event is one of Britain's leading literary gatherings, and runs alongside jazz, comedy and performing arts festivals in the Scottish capital each August.

Ben McConville/AP

Note: Another former Bond, Roger Moore, also has a memoir coming out. Look for My Word is My Bond around Nov. 4.

Buffalo Grove native a finalist for Thurber Prize

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Larry Doyle, whose experiences at Buffalo Grove High School were the inspiration for his 2007 debut novel I Love You, Beth Cooper (Ecco), is one of three finalists for the 2008 Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Doyle, a former writer for "The Simpsons" and "Beavis and Butt-Head" and current contributor to the New Yorker and Esquire magazines, is now in post-production for the movie version of I Love You, Beth Cooper. Hayden Pannetierre (the cheerleader on NBC's "Heroes") stars as the title character, who gives a nerdy classmate a night he'll never forget after he professes his feelings in his high school valedictory speech.

Larry Doyle
Buffalo Grove native Larry Doyle wrote I Love You, Beth Cooper, which is now
being made into a movie.
(John J. Kim / Sun-Times)

The other two finalists are Patricia Marx for Him Her Him Again The End of Him (Scribner) and Simon Rich for Ant Farm (Random House). The award will be presented in October at New York's famed Algonquin Hotel, once home to New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber.

Beth Cooper Him Her Him Ant Farm

Here's a YouTube video of Doyle talking about his novel, shoes and "The Simpsons," among other things. It's in two parts:

Woodward book unveiled

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Simon & Schuster has confirmed that in three weeks they will publish Bob Woodward's latest investigative look into the Bush administration.

Although this is what and have on their Web sites this morning ...

woodward untitled

... this is what the book -- The War Within: A Secret White House HIstory 2006-2008 -- actually looks like:

Woodward Book

Naturally Woodward's employer, the Washington Post, gets first dibs on the embargoed title, and will publish excerpts on Sept. 7, one day before the book is released.

According to Simon & Schuster, which announced a first printing of 900,000 copies, Woodward's book ''takes readers deep inside the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq. Based on extensive interviews with participants, contemporaneous notes and secret documents, the book traces the internal debates, tensions and critical turning points in the Iraq War during an extraordinary two-year period.''

Woodward's longtime editor at Simon & Schuster, Alice Mayhew, said in a statement today: ''There has not been such an authoritative and intimate account of presidential decision making since the Nixon tapes and the Pentagon Papers. This is the declassification of what went on in secret, behind the scenes.''

Woodward's three previous works on the Bush years have been No. 1 on The New York Times best seller list.

Stephenie Meyer speaks

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Fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series of vampire novels are many -- and vocal. There seems to be a about a 50-50 split of those who think her final "Twilight" novel, Breaking Dawn, kept with the spirit of the series, and those who think she failed completely. Since the book has been out for two weeks now, she's talking about it on Warning: Don't click if you haven't read it yet -- there are spoilers!

Read the Sun-Times' review of Breaking Dawn.

Edwards scandal a boon for McInerney

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A 20-year-old book could shed some light on the political scandal du jour.

Alison Poole, the promiscuous party girl protagonist in Jay McInerney's 1988 novel Story of My Life was apparently inspired by Rielle Hunter, the woman at the center of the John Edwards sleaze-o-rama. And now the book is getting hurried back on to bookstore shelves by Random House imprint Vintage Books, according to the Associated Press.

story of my life

Apparently McInerney met Hunter -- then known as Lisa Druck -- when she was an aspiring actress in New York City.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. senator Edwards finally admitted to an affair with Hunter after months of speculation -- based on a National Enquirer report -- that Edwards fathered a child with Hunter. The two met when Hunter produced videos for Edwards as he prepared to launch his presidential race. Edwards has denied paternity of the child, a daughter.

As of Monday afternoon, ''Story of My Life'' was No. 470 on's best-seller list and was out of stock.

McInerney, 53, is best known for the million-selling Bright Lights, Big City.

Olympic fever

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If you're looking to multitask while watching the Olympics over the next couple of weeks, check out Pulitzer Prize-winner David Maraniss' latest book, Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World (Simon & Schuster, 486 pages, $26.95). It was the year of Cassius Clay, Wilma Rudolph and Rafer Johnson. It was the year the Cold War heated up. And it was the year doping scandals became exposed.


Read the Sun-Times' review of Rome 1960, plus a review of a couple of Olympics-themed children's books.

And if that isn't enough, Phil Ponce spoke to Maraniss recently on WTTW-Channel 11's Chicago Tonight.

Starbucks picks new featured book

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Starbucks has chosen another memoir by a West African to feature in its stores nationwide, according to the Associated Press.

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood (Simon & Schuster, 368 pages, 425), by New York Times reporter Helene Cooper, is a memoir about growing up in Liberia during that country's civil war.

Helene Cooper

Ishmael Beah's Long Way Gone, about being a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, was picked last year and became a best seller despite questions over how long Beah actually fought.

''I remember going into my local Starbucks on K Street in Washington for my morning coffee on my way to work, and seeing Long Way Gone on the counter,'' Cooper said in a statement released by Starbucks. ''I was thrilled for him as a fellow West African -- and so envious myself at the same time! I'm not ashamed to say that I stood in line daydreaming that one day it would be me. I'm absolutely thrilled."

Publisher's Weekly had this to say about The House at Sugar Beach:

"Journalist Cooper has a compelling story to tell: born into a wealthy, powerful, dynastic Liberian family descended from freed American slaves, she came of age in the 1980s when her homeland slipped into civil war. Cooper combines deeply personal and wide-ranging political strands in her memoir. A journalist-as-a-young-woman narrative unfolds as Cooper reports the career path that led her from local to national papers in the U.S. The stories themselves are fascinating..."

'Breaking Dawn' with Stephenie Meyer

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I may not get the appeal of the whole vampire lit thing -- much like I don't get NASCAR or the movie "Borat," the 84 most unfunny minutes in the history of cinema -- but I do recognize its wild popularity. Ever since Anne Rice came on the scene with Interview With the Vampire and "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" became must-see TV for teens everywhere, beautiful bloodsuckers have filled many a pocket paperback.

Author Stephenie Meyer seems to have tapped into an even greater audience with her young adult "Twilight" series, which features beautiful teenagers -- some vampires, some not -- who share all the angst of high school, along with a few more otherworldly pressures.

In grand Harry Potter fashion, bookstores nationwide stayed open late last Friday night to host "Twilight" parties in anticipation of the release of Breaking Dawn (Little, Brown, $22.99), Meyer's fourth and final installment in her vampire romance series. (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse are the first three.)

Breaking Dawn

And today the Associated Press reports that the book sold a whopping 1.3 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release -- not nearly as much as the final Harry Potter book (8.3 million), but huge nonetheless.

If you missed CBS's "Sunday Morning" yesterday, here's the show's segment on the Mormon housewife and her rise to literary stardom: