News: January 2009 Archives

Obama's bro-in-law writing a book

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First brother-in-law Craig Robinson is taking advantage of the presidential momentum and is working on a book to be published next year by Gotham.

Robinson, big brother to first lady Michelle Obama and men's basketball coach at Oregon State University, says the book, titled A Game of Character, will be part tribute to his family and part inspirational guide. No doubt Chicago will play a big role in the book, as both Robinson and his famous sis grew up on the city's south side.

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson chats with his sister, first lady
Michelle Obama, on inauguration day.
(Jae Hong/AP)

"I've been privileged to know some extraordinary people in my life," Robinson said. "I've watched as my sister Michelle, a rock of a mother, became a leader in her own right. My brother-in law, President Barack Obama, who I knew from the first time I met him had something special, continues to inspire all of us."

John Updike dies

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John Updike, 76, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, died today, according to an e-mail from his publisher.

John Updike
John Updike at Book Expo America in 2006.

"It is with great sadness that I report that John Updike died this morning at the age of 76, after a battle with lung cancer. He was one of our greatest writers, and he will be sorely missed," wrote Nicholas Latimer, VP of publicity at Knopf.

A prolific writer, arguably most known for his Rabbit novel series, Mr. Updike wrote more than 50 books in as many years, the most recent being The Widows of Eastwick, the sequel to his 1984 hit The Witches of Eastwick.

Chris Rock to write another book

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Chris Rock is writing a follow-up to his 1997 book Rock This! It will a book full of "comedic observations," to be released next year. Rock's observations are the basis for his cutting-edge comedy, so it should be entertaining reading.

Books Chris Rock

Deb Futter, vice president and editor-in-chief of hardcovers at Grand Central Publishing, said: "We are so excited to be publishing Chris Rock, especially because he hasn't published a book in many years so this one will be highly anticipated."

Grand Central's other celebrity authors include Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Conversations with fraud

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Neale Donald Walsch, who's made himself a nice living off his "conversations" with God, has been outed as a plagiarist and kicked off, where he wrote a spiritual blog.

Apparently Walsch tried to pass off another writer's Christmas anecdote as his own -- a story about his son's kindergarten pageant where the kids were supposed to hold up letters spelling out the words "Christmas Love," and the kid holiding the "M" held it upside down, so the message read "Christwas Love." Turns out, an author named Candy Chand first wrote the story a decade ago for the spiritual magazine Clarity.

Walsch's lame excuse is that he told the story so many times over the years and "somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience."

Chand doesn't buy it, and quite frankly, neither do I.

"If he knew this was wrong, he should have known it was wrong before he got caught," she told the New York Times.

Amen, sister.

Mystery master Donald E. Westlake dies

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Donald Westlake
Donald Westlake in his Greenwich Village home. (Louis Lanzano/AP)

Prolific mystery author Donald E. Westlake died of a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico. He was 75. Westlake reportedly wrote more than 100 books in his career, under both his own name and a variety of pseudonyms. Fans can look forward to one more novel, Get Real (Grand Central, $23.99), to be released in April.

Get Real