FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Books

Death Becomes This Brooklyn Freelancer

AmericanGrotesqueCoverBess Lovejoy knows a thing or three about corpses.

Her book on the fate of various famous stiffs, Rest in Pieces, was voted by Amazon to be one of last year’s best reads. She is a member of something called The Order of Good Death, as well as a founding member of Death Salon. (That group’s next NYC event is slated for sometime in 2015, at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.)

In other words, it’s no surprise that Lovejoy found a way to lead off her Smithsonian piece about William Mortensen with a colorful corpse anecdote that ropes in a couple of other famous photographers. The legacy of Mortensen, who passed away in 1965, is being revived this fall in the form of several exhibitions and a brand new book titled American Grotesque:

Mortensen wrote a series of bestselling instructional books and a weekly photography column in the Los Angeles Times, and ran the Mortensen School of Photography in Laguna Beach, where some 3,000 students passed through the doors. The artist and photography scholar Larry Lytle, who has done extensive research on Mortensen, calls him “photography’s first superstar.”

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Middle Grade Novel Writing

Middle Grade Novel WritingStarting January 15, work with a literary agent to write your middle-grade novel! In this course, you'll learn how to develop strong characters, write compelling dialogue, master the art of revision, and market your work to publishing houses and agents. Register now!

New York Media Vet Insists: Middle Age is Only the Beginning!

NelsonAspenMyPrimeTimeNext Tuesday at 7 p.m., longtime entertainment reporter Nelson Aspen will host a launch party at JackRabbit Sports (140 West 72nd Street) for his newest memoir.

As anyone who grabs a copy of My Prime Time: Middle Age Is Only The Beginning! before or after will quickly discover, Aspen has packed a century’s worth of highlights into his first 50 years: actor; cabaret performer; Australian morning show correspondent; marathon runner; and more. The author wastes no time at the top of his breezy, candid tome, explaining how his mother’s efforts with diet food led to a surfeit of teenage weight, just in time for relentless high school bullying.

From there, it’s a hit parade of anecdotes, factoids and solid life advice. In the last case, not just from Aspen himself but also from close friends and some of the many celebrities he has interviewed. At one point, the 51-year-old author also lists his “Favorite Grown-Up Celebrities,” an honor roll that includes 56-year-old Viggo Mortensen:

This painter, poet and musician also publishes the works of little known authors and artists and is politically active and remarkably fair and bipartisan in his views and responses.

Read more

John Cleese is No Fan of Rupert Murdoch

JohnCleeseLiveTalksLAThis penultimate portion of Live Talks LA’s fifth season sold out quickly a month beforehand. A total of 900 copies of John Cleese‘s autobiography were purchased in conjunction with the November 18 Alex Theatre sit-down. And per the full video of the conversation now posted, nearly an equal amount of scintillating anecdotes were shared.

Event series founder-producer Ted Habte-Gabr has matched up a lot of great authors and interviewers over the years, but the pairing of Cleese with Monty Python pal Eric Idle ranks right at the top. Probably the funniest single stretch is when Cleese and Idle recalled touring New Zealand during their earliest days (“We left England in July 1964 and we arrived in Auckland in…” Cleese began, “…in July 1864,” Idle added.)

There were also during the discussion a couple of notable mentions of Rupert Murdoch. At one point, Idle and Cleese talked about having recently read Nick Davies‘ acclaimed book Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch:

Idle: “It’s a very interesting book of how, we won’t mention his name – Rupert Murdoch! – took over England, really, and was responsible for electing Thatcher, Blair, Major and Brown. That power is really extraordinary.”

Read more

Graham Norton on Tom Cruise, ‘Bad Boyfriend’ and More

GrahamNortonHeDevilCoverPolly Vernon‘s profile of Graham Norton for the New Zealand Herald is unlikely to leave a single reader “banjaxed.” As opposed to Norton himself, to whom Vernon at one point applies that descriptive to convey the talk show host’s reaction to a question about the perhaps-missed-opportunity of engaging a female sex surrogate.

Vernon and Norton are a match made in dazzling-wit heaven. The 51-year-old UK media star, who foresees exiting his BBC America talker in three years, says he is at peace with both not making it “big” in the U.S. and being less proactive than a certain year-older A-lister:

Tom Cruise is supernaturally good at [being nice]. Nothing will prepare you for it. He is like an alien. He’s like someone from a different planet! So like, on the way in here, he’ll have met that manager guy, who did introduce himself to me, but I don’t remember his name. Tom will know it! And on the way out, he’ll thank him for everything. And then that guy will love Tom Cruise forever. We can be pleasant to him, but already we’ve messed up, because we don’t remember his name. And the difference is that.”

Read more

Canadian Author Prepares for ‘The Giller Effect’

SeanMichaelsPicFrom the get-go, reviews for Canadian music journalist Sean Michaels‘ debut novel Us Conductors have been spectacular. And much like the way his protagonist Lev Turmen steams away in the 1930s from New York City to Russia, it’s been full-steam-ahead for Michaels to last night’s anointment as 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner.

This year, for the first time, the prize money was doubled from $50,000 to $100,000. Michaels told Publisher’s Weekly he will use the money to “live the fiction writer’s life” for a while. He will also be buoyed in that regard by another immediate benefit:

A win typically results in a spike in book sales that has been nicknamed “the Giller effect.” In recent years, the sales increase has averaged more than 500%.

Read more

Jonah Lehrer Gets a Book Deal

Screen-Shot-2013-02-12-at-2.07.06-PM-300x256Jonah Lehrer, serial plagiarizer and Bob Dylan quote generator, has a book deal. According to the AP, Portfolio — a Penguin Random House imprint — has acquired The Digital Mind: How We Think and Behave Differently on Screens, written by Lehrer and Shlomo Benartzi.

Benartzi is a UCLA professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at the school’s Anderson School of Management. He said Lehrer’s past — he was forced to resign from The New Yorker after being busted for plagiarism and later told everyone he only lied about the plagiarism because he was so smart — didn’t matter to him.

“I have spent my life studying how people make mistakes,” Benartzi said, in a statement. “Everybody makes them, and I have made more than my share. So I am sympathetic toward people who make mistakes.” Here’s hoping this isn’t another one.

Simon & Schuster Win Paul Simon Bidding War

Five other publishers were interested in the rights to the singer’s authorized biography. But in the end, per AP’s Hillel Italie, Simon & Schuster came out the winner.

ShutterstockPaulSimon2011

There is no title or release date yet for the book, which will be crafted by former Los Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn. It promises to be a great read:

Hilburn said Tuesday that Simon was compiling a list of people he has been close to and sending the biographer contact information.

Read more

Hooray for Haunted Hollywood!

Entertainment journalist Valerie Tejeda has a debut novel coming out next year via Bloomsbury Kids’ Spark imprint. In the tome, titled Hollywood Witch Hunter, she touches on the idea that the Hollywood Sign is haunted by the specter of its infamous 1932 suicide victim, Peg Entwistle.

ShutterstockHollywoodSign

On this Hallow’s Eve, Tejeda looks a little more closely for Vanity Fair at the alleged gardenia-scented aura of the aspiring actress’ jump from the “H.” She spoke to a female jogger who saw the ghost of Entwistle last year, and reminds that many others have as well:

In 1990, a young couple hiking the Griffith Park trails stopped dead in their tracks when a disoriented blond woman dressed in 1930s clothing vanished before their eyes. Apparently, the couple was completely unaware of Entwistle’s suicide.

Read more

David Ritz Has Five Books Out This Year

Mere mortals are happy with one biography or ghostwriting effort making it on to Amazon in a given year. But David Ritz long ago ceased being merely mortal.

In 2014, Ritz is responsible as a ghostwriter for the autobiographies of Rick James (July 8), Aerosmith’s Joe Perry (October 7) and Andrew Dice Clay (November 11). Today, he’s also got a biography of Aretha Franklin out, which follows his 1999 collaborative effort with the singer on her autobiography.

Read more

The Unpublished Memoir of Simon & Schuster’s Co-Founder

simon schusterThe price tag, $5,000, is steep. But given the author and subject matter – “An unpublished look at American publishing history and practice” – someone is bound (pun intended) to snap up the manuscript.

Written in the late 1950s, Fools Give You Reasons is an 84-page marked-up professional memoir from Simon & Schuster co-founder Richard Simon. As Rebecca Rego Barry, who once worked at Simon & Schuster, blogs:

Several of Simon’s contemporaries published memoirs of their lives in books, e.g. The Memoirs of a Publisher by F.N. Doubleday (1972), At Random by Bennett Cerf (1977) and at S&S, Turning the Pages by editor Peter Schwed (1984). Alas, Simon’s manuscript went unpublished, and had been kept in the family until now.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>