Teresa Budasi: October 2008 Archives

Studs Terkel, rest in peace

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Division StreetHard TimesWorkingAmerican DreamsTouch and GoThe Good WarComing of AgeHope Dies LastP.S

Roger Moore feted in France

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As French Culture Minister Christine Albanel named British actor Roger Moore a commander in France's National Order of Arts and Letters in Paris yesterday, Moore claimed the award was worth "more than an Oscar."

Moore, 81, has never won the Oscar, nor has he ever been nominated for one. Best known for playing James Bond on the big screen in the '70s and '80s -- he played the role longer than any other actor -- Moore can add author to his resume. His memoir, My Word is My Bond (Collins, 336 pages, $27.95), is due out next week. (Look for the Sun-Times review in this weekend's Sunday Show section).

Roger MooreMy Word is My Bond
Roger Moore and wife Christina
pose for the camera as Moore
is named Commander of Arts
and Letters by the French
culture ministry.
(AP photo)

Director Cronenberg writing a novel

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Film director David Cronenberg says he's wanted to write a book for 50 years -- and now he's finally doing it.

Cronenberg, attending the Rome Film Festival this week, says he's written 60 pages so far -- and it won't be horror or science fiction, like many of his films.

David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg poses in front of a
still image from his film "Scanners"
during an art exhibition at the Rome
film festival.
(Alessandra Tarantino~AP)

''Based on the pages I have written we found publishers all over the world, which is very terrifying to me,'' Cronenberg told reporters at the festival. ''It's at a very delicate phase right now, so I can't really talk about it. It's not like Stephen King. I don't know what it's like but you wouldn't call it a horror or science fiction novel at all. But what it is exactly, well, I don't know yet.''

Cronenberg's best known films are scattered across the '80s: "Scanners" (1981), ''Videodrome'' (1983), ''The Fly'' (1986) and "Dead Ringers" (1988). More recently he has garnered acclaim for two collaborations with actor Viggo Mortensen, "A History of Violence" (2005) and "Eastern Promises" (2007).

Chicagoans among National Book Award nominees

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lazarus creatures blood

Chicago is well represented in this year's National Book Awards, with three of city's authors making the list of finalists: Aleksandar Hemon in the fiction category and Reginald Gibbons and Patricia Smith in the poetry category.

Hemon, who adopted Chicago as his home in 1992, when the fighting in his homeland of Bosnia stranded him here, is nominated for his novel The Lazarus Project (Riverhead, $24.95). (Read review)

Hemon's competition includes: Rachel Kushner for Telex From Cuba (Scribner); Peter Matthiessen for Shadow Country (Modern Library); Marilynne Robinson for Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Salvatore Scibona for The End (Graywolf)

Gibbons, a professor of English and classics at Northwestern in Evanston, is nominated for his latest poetry collection, Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press, $16.95). And Smith, a Chicago native and four-time National Poetry Slam champion who now makes her home in New York, is nominated for Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, $16). (Read review of Blood Dazzler)

The rest of the competition in the poetry category includes: Frank Bidart for Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); Mark Doty for Fire to Fire (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Richard Howard for Without Saying (Turtle Point).

Nonfiction nominees:
Drew Gilpin Faust for This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Norton)
Jane Mayer for The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday)
Jim Sheeler for Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin)
Joan Wickersham for The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order (Harcourt)

Young People's Literature nominees:
Laurie Halse Anderson for Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt for The Underneath (Atheneum)
Rudy Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp for The Spectacular Now (Knopf)

The winners will be announced Nov. 19 in New York.

'White Tiger' wins Man Booker prize

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Aravind Adiga was considered the longshot to win the prestigious Man Booker prize, according to an Associated Press report this morning, but the Indian author impressed the judges panel and won the 50,000-pound (about $88,0000) prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger.

Aravind Adiga
Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger is the story of a man's dreams of escaping his poor village life, by any means necessary, to attain success in the big city.

The 34-year-old Adiga was the youngest of the finalists, who included: Sebastian Barry for The Secret Scripture; Amitav Ghosh for Sea of Poppies; Steve Toltz for A Fraction of the Whole; Linda Grant for The Clothes on Their Backs, and Philip Hensher for The Northern Clemency.

More Marcia

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In yesterday morning's entry I lamented not having received a copy of Maureen McCormick's memoir, Here's the Story. Like magic, as if some "Brady Bunch" fairy were looking down on me, my very own copy appeared in the Book Room by afternoon. I spent a good part of rest of the day paging through it and jotted down some of the highlights.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

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Marcia Brady never would have dated Michael Jackson (remember, Davy Jones was her type), gone on cocaine binges or partied at the Playboy mansion (the pizza parlor was where it was at for her), but Maureen McCormick, who played the eldest daughter on the '70s sitcom "The Brady Bunch" did all of the the above -- and more.

You can learn all the salacious details in McCormick's memoir, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice (HarperCollins, 288 pages, $25.95), which goes on sale tomorrow.

Brady Bunch Here's the Story
That's McCormick, upper left, as Marcia on "The Brady Bunch."

Regrettably I did not receive an advance copy -- Do the publisher's not know what a "Brady Bunch" aficionado I am? -- but the Associated Press got their hands on one and culled this quote out of it.

''As a teenager, I had no idea that few people are everything they present to the outside world. Yet there I was, hiding the reality of my life behind the unreal perfection of Marcia Brady. No one suspected the fear that gnawed at me even as I lent my voice to the chorus of Bradys singing, 'It's a Sunshine Day.'''

Ain't no sunshine in interventions, rehab, depression and therapy, which is what followed her "Brady" years. But in 1985 McCormick married actor Michael Cummings, and her life started to turn around. She credits his love and support, plus that of her "Brady Bunch" family, with helping her get sober.

During her troubled times, McCormick got an occasional acting role but nothing substantial. Post-recovery she became the winner on VH1's own version of dysfunction, "Celebrity Fit Club." More recently she starred on two other reality series, "Gone Country" and the bizarre "Outsider's Inn."

Meet Marcia in person! McCormick will sign copies of Here's the Story, 7 p.m. Thursday at Borders, 830 N. Michigan.

Larry Doyle wins Thurber Prize

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Buffalo Grove native Larry Doyle, who was featured on this blog a couple of months ago when he became a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, has won the prize for his 2007 novel I Love You, Beth Cooper.

Larry Doyle
Larry Doyle

"Had Larry been cool, he could have never written I Love You, Beth Cooper, a hilarious yet painfully accurate account of high school in all its pimply glory," said Firoozeh Dumas, one of the judges for this year's prize.

Doyle lives in Baltimore with his wife and three children but it was his experiences at Buffalo Grove High School that inspired the novel that won him the prize.

The two runners-up this year were Patricia Marx (Him Her Him Again The End of Him) and Simon Rich (Ant Farm). Past winners include David Sedaris, Christopher Buckley, Jon Stewart and Alan Zweibel.

Tina Fey working on a book

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As if she weren't busy enough, what with writing, producing and starring in her own Emmy-winning TV show ("30 Rock"), starring in movies ("Baby Mama") and, oh yeah, moonlighting at her old job ("Saturday Night Live"), playing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to great hilarity -- Tina Fey's going to write a book!

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on "Saturday
Night Live."
(NBC photo)

The New York Observer reported last Friday that Little, Brown & Company will release a book of -- what else? -- humorous essays written by the 38-year-old 21st century comedy wonder woman.

It stands to reason that Fey would write a book. She has said on numerous occasions that even though she's gained fame and visibility through her TV acting, she sees herself first and foremost as a writer. Proof positive came last year when she proudly walked the picket line with her Writers Guild brethren during their three-month strike. She also had this to say when she picked up her writing Emmy (for "30 Rock") just a couple of weeks ago: I'm very proud to be a writer, I would not have any of the other jobs I have if I had not been a writer first."

Little, Brown hasn't yet released any details on the deal. Stay tuned...