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Book: Caroline Kennedy was angry

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Caroline Kennedy

A new book paints a picture of an intense, angry Caroline Kennedy bent on extending her family's legacy in the U.S. Senate only to end her quest when her kids no longer recognized their cool, composed mother.

The book is by Edward Klein, a best-seller who's been accused of using of hearsay in other biographies. (His last book was Katie: The Real Story, about Katie Couric.)

Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Dies (Crown, 272 pages, $26) is being excerpted in Vanity Fair. It states Caroline Kennedy told New York Gov. David Paterson she was withdrawing from consideration for the Senate seat because her kids and husband felt she was becoming a different person.

The book also says she was angry when Paterson didn't immediately name her to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate.

Kennedy spokesmen declined to comment Tuesday.


Obama manager gets 7-figure book deal

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Another Obama insider is hopping on the bookwagon. First it was the president's brother-in-law Craig Robinson; now it's campaign manager David Plouffe, who has agreed to a seven-figure deal to write The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory.

Books Obama Manager
David Plouffe at his Chicago campaign
(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Reportedly 17 imprints competed for the project. Viking won and plans to release the book next fall. The publisher issued a statement, saying the book will offer a unique, high-level account, including "the deliberations about whether to run against long odds, the epic primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the drama of the general election campaign against John McCain and the strategic roads taken -- and not taken.

"The book will also detail the business lessons to be learned from the formation and the functioning of an unprecedented $1 billion start-up -- use of technology, crisis management, grass roots, and personnel management."

Elizabeth Edwards' 'Resilience'

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Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, Resilience, to be published May 12, will likely address her husband's affair. Former presidential hopeful John Edwards publicly admitted his affair with video producer Rielle Hunter, though he denies fathering her 6-month-old child.

Broadway Books publicist David Drake declined to discuss details of the book but said it would serve as a sort of sequel to her previous memoir, Saving Graces (2006), which mostly focused on the death of her son Wade in 1996 and her battle with breast cancer.

"She has always been a kind of candid and honest writer," he said. "And people can expect that of her in her new book."

Laura Bush to write memoir; W will wait

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First lady Laura Bush confirmed to The Associated Press that she is planning a memoir and has met with publishers.

''I've been talking to some publishers, but nothing has happened yet -- just a few visits,'' she said in a telephone interview Tuesday to discuss her upcoming special about the White House on cable's History channel.

Earlier this month, the AP reported on Bush's proposed book, citing three publishing executives with knowledge of the discussions who asked not to be identified because talks were in the early stages and highly confidential. The executives said that Bush is being represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose many clients include former President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Barnett, who worked with Bush when she and daughter Jenna collaborated on a children's book, declined comment Tuesday when contacted by the AP.

A memoir from Laura Bush could be the political version of ''Garbo Speaks.'' The public has long been fascinated by the first lady, if only because she has said so little about herself, and her life is already a best seller in fictional form, in Curtis Sittenfeld's novel,
American Wife.

While Nancy Reagan famously settled scores with old foes like former White House chief of staff Donald Regan in My Turn, one publishing executive with knowledge of the meetings with Laura Bush said the current first lady has vowed to write a positive book, with a minimum of criticism. The executive asked not to be identified, also citing the confidentiality of the discussions.

Publishers have a much higher regard for the first lady, a former schoolteacher known as a passionate reader, than for President Bush, and a book deal -- even during a dire economy -- would likely be worth at least as much as Hillary Clinton's $8 million for the memoir Living History. Books by recent first ladies, including Laura Bush's mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, have had more dependable commercial appeal than those by former presidents.

President Bush said recently that he, too, wants to write a book, but has yet to shop a proposal. Publishers, noting his poor approval ratings, have urged him to wait.

Publishers are betting that the market for a memoir by Laura Bush is much greater than for her children's book, Read All About It! -- published last spring by HarperCollins with an announced first printing of 500,000. Although the book was launched by a mother-daughter appearance on the "Today" show, only 77,000 copies have sold so far, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales. American Wife, released in September with an announced 100,000 printing, has sold 66,000 copies, according to Nielsen.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Read All About It! ranked 19,975 on; ''American Wife'' was 586.


Letters to Obama

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The editors over at Skyhorse Publishing are looking for a few hundred good letters to include in new book coming out next spring, titled Letters to President Obama: Americans Share Our Hopes and Dreams with the First African-American President. Look, they already have a book cover:

Letters to President Obama

The editors claim that Americans of age and every race and from all corners of the country will be represented in the book, so if you want to add your stamp to history and see your letter on the printed page, go to and submit your letter for consideration.

Victory boosts Obama books

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Audacity of HopeDreams from my Father

As expected, Barack Obama's memoirs, The Audacity of Hope (2006) and Dreams From My Father (1995), were given a sales boost immediately following the Illinois senator's historic victory in this presidential campaign. As of noon today, the two books ranked 3 and 8, respectively, on's best seller list.

A paperback that outlines the president elect's vision for America -- Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise (Three Rivers Press, $13.95), which includes a foreword by Obama -- is at No. 23.

Here's a whole other pile of Obama-related books that have come through the Book Room in the last couple months:

Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics
(Paradigm, 228 pages, $23.95) by Paul Street. Street, a journalist, policy adviser and historian was formerly vice president for research and planning at the Chicago Urban League.

The Rise of Barack Obama (Triumph Books, 160 pages, $27.95), photographs and text by Pete Souza. Photojournalist Souza worked as an official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan.

Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama (Feiwel & Friends, 224 pages, $6.99) by Garen Thomas. This book for young readers (10-16) covers Obama's childhood up through his historic speech on March 18 of this year.

Say It Like Obama: The Power of Speaking With Purpose and Vision (McGraw Hill, 212 pages, $21.95) by Shel Leanne. One thing we've learned during this campaign is that presentation counts. This book examines the lessons to be learned from Obama's oratory skills.

The Faith of Barack Obama (Thomas Nelson, 158 pages, $19.99) by Stephen Mansfield. New York Times best-selling author Mansfield takes readers inside the church that is Obama's spiritual home and how it has shaped his politics.

Michelle (Simon & Schuster, 200 pages, $25) by Liz Mundy. Washington Post staffer Mundy talked to Michelle Obama herself, plus about 100 others before writing this biography of the future first lady of the United States of America.

Election day fun

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Both presidential candidates have been pretty good humored during the campaign. You saw John McCain on "Saturday Night Live" last weekend and Barack Obama dancing on "Ellen" a couple weeks ago. So, today, in a nonpartisan effort to gets some laughts today, before anything is decided, I offer up the following little paperbacks. Neither author appears to be taking a stand on the candidates either way; they merely seem to be poking gentle fun.

In a previous "Saturday Night Live" appearance back in May, John McCain said, "I have the courage, the wisdom, the experience, and most importantly, the oldness necessary." True, if elected, McCain, at 72, will be the oldest first-term president in history.

According to blogger/author Joe Quint, there are 72 Things Younger Than John McCain (Fireside, 113 pages, $9.99), including two-ply toilet paper: "In the year before John McCain was born, the Northern Tissue Paper Company proudly proclaimed its toilet paper to be 'splinter free' -- but it wasn't until he was out of diapers for about four years that the world was treated to the miracle of a second layer of paper."


Paging through the book, here are a few more things younger than John McCain (who knew?): Geritol, turn signals, Social Security, duct tape, Scrabble, area codes and zip codes, Spam, Alaska and Hawaii, Scientology, McDonald's, the ball point pen, Mount Rushmore, Bugs Bunny and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.

Check out Quint's Web site.


Matthew Honan first started putting together his humorous little collection of odd statements as a commentary on his wife's obsession with Barack Obama, which quickly overtook her other obsession: bicycling. So, Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle: 366 Ways He Really Cares (Gotham, 192 pages, $12) has become a calling out of many Americans' love affair with the young, charismatic candidate from Illinois.


Honan first started a Web site that flashes random phrases explaining Obamamania and it took off in popularity -- enough for him to put it in booklet form. Here are some of my favorites:

Barack Obama listed you as his emergency contact.
Barack Obama ...
...picked up the spare on league night.
...covered for you when you were late for a meeting.
...showed you how to tie a full Windsor.
...made you a mixtape.
...changed out the kitty litter for you.
...held your hair when you were sick.
...climbed Kilimanjaro and wrote your name in the logbook.
...shelled an enormous bagful of peas for your picnic.
....counted all your pennies and rolled them up in paper.
...sucked all the poison out of your snake bite.

Sarah Palin rhetoric

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My predecessor, Henry Kisor, who served as the Sun-Times literary editor for 30+ years, is now a mystery novelist, and in his spare time he maintains a blog. He writes intelligently and eloquently about whatever's on his mind, be it sunsets and rainbows or the news of the day. Sometimes he writes about books, go figure.

Yesterday he posted a timely item about John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin and her early days in politics. Apparently when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she wielded her power to fire a librarian who vowed to fight Palin in her "rhetorical" effort to ban books. This item was among a few others listed in a New York Times article. Leave it to Henry to flush out the small but significant details.

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."

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.

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