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Books

Michael Hastings Gets Some Posthumous Love from Fox News Journo

TheLastMagazineCoverFrom the latest wave of reviews for Michael Hastings‘ posthumous novel The Last Magazine, out today, one jumps out. A rave in the Washington Post by Fox News chief D.C. correspondent James Rosen:

The [titular] magazine, you’ll not be surprised to learn, is a mid-Manhattan snake pit of literary ambition and fame-lust, where the international editor, an Indian intellectual-cum-socialite, vies with the managing editor, a bow-tied Southern historian, for the throne of editor-in-chief. The publisher has played up the parlor-game angle, and yes, some fun is to be had identifying Media Luminaries skewered here via roman à clef (Fareed Zakaria, Nick Denton, Lally Weymouth, et al.)…

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Glenn Greenwald Skype Interview is Right in NSA’s Wheelhouse

NoPlacetoHide_CoverAhead of tonight’s book event in Seattle, journalist Glenn Greenwald did a Skype interview from Rio de Janeiro with alt-weekly The Stranger. Kudos to associate editor Eli Sanders for the clever first question, and to Greenwald for the hilariously upsetting answer.

So, I’m making this call on Skype. How much could the NSA know about me just based on the medium I’m calling you through?

Oh, they’re completely in the system of Skype. I mean, they have virtually unfettered reign over Skype calls. Actually, one of the most interesting stories we did was about how easily Microsoft cooperated with the NSA to make sure that they had full reign with Skype.

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A Discarded Son Adopts a Fresh Byline

VictorFeraruPicHis autobiography, Victor’s Luck, is in the final stages of editing. In the meantime, there is this tantalizing blog post, headlined “There Is A Lot To A Name.”

Born Victor Lopez, this survivor’s story is incredible and one that you may, by now, have heard about. In The Huffington Post item, Victor reveals a key new detail that finalized just last week:

My adopted aunt and uncle came to my [Guilford College] graduation. Afterwards at a house gathering, on the best day of my life, my Uncle Kenny and Aunt Diana said, “You do not owe your biological family anything. F*ck them. And that is a legal term.” My uncle is a New York attorney, so he would know these things.

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NYT Reporters Recommend a Few Good Books About Journalism

TheImperfectionistsCoverIn this weekend’s Sunday Book Review, there is a fun, brief item from John Williams. Echoing the general theme of David Carr‘s latest column, he asked Carr as well as Ravi Somaiya, Jonathan Mahler and Peter Lattman to highlight their favorite books about journalism.

The most intriguing comment comes from Lattman. Like Mahler, he chose a work of fiction rather than non-fiction, but not for the reasons you might assume:

Lattman selected The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, about a “dying English-language newspaper in Rome. This debut novel from 2010 does a better job of capturing a newsroom and its characters than any non-fiction book I’ve read.”

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A Celebrity Photographer Who Has Seen, Heard It All

TheWayWeWereCoverJayne Mansfield dancing with the son of a Florida mortuaries billionaire… A 1974 Los Angeles “It boy” moving away to become a counselor for Eskimos with AIDS…

As Dana Goodyear found out recently when she spent time with famed celebrity photographer Julian Wasser in Los Angeles, these are the strange moments that for him, ultimately defined his beat:

“Living here, it’s an endless stream of stories like that. When you come from a normal place, you just become aghast at what you hear in this town.”

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Wimpy Kid Series Author to Open Bookstore

JeffKinneyHere’s something you don’t read every day: an exceedingly successful person has decided to embrace a dying business.

This morning, during an event at New York’s BookExpo America moderated by actor-turned-author Jason SegelDiary of a Wimpy Kid maestro Jeff Kinney made a rather surprising announcement. From the AP item:

The beloved children’s writer surprised and delighted a breakfast gathering Friday by announcing that he and his wife were converting an abandoned general store into a bookshop. The store will be based in Plainville, Massachusetts, where Kinney and his wife live.

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Author Joseph Finder Revisits ‘The Bravest Thing I Ever Did’

JosephFinderSuspicionIn keeping with a basic tenet of thriller novels – waste no time setting the scene, large – Boston Globe reporter Joseph Kahn gets his piece about local bestselling author Joseph Finder rolling with this compelling first paragraph:

After publishing 10 suspense novels, two of them bestsellers turned into Hollywood movies, Joseph Finder had what most writers would sell their souls for: brand-name author status; a seven-figure, multi-book deal with a major publisher; a list of his previous works aggressively marketed by his publisher; and a loyal readership for virtually anything he wrote.

That was then (2012) and the rest of Kahn’s feature is now. After becoming unhappy with the direction of the partnership, Finder gambled big-time on himself, writing a seven-figure check to get out of his St. Martin’s Press deal and writing his next novel, Suspicion, on spec.

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Inspiration for Van Wilder Insists He Has Never Seen the Movie

If Hollywood turned a Rolling Stone magazine profile of you into a movie starring Ryan Reynolds, you’d go see it, right? Like either at the premiere, if invited, or for sure on opening Friday night?

LifeofthePartyCoverWrong. In an interview with the New York Post‘s Reed Tucker to promote the May 27 release of the book Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child, former Florida State University hell-raiser Bert Kreischer swears he’s never seen the 2002 National Lampoon comedy. Or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t remember.

Tucker got Kreischer to run through some fun anecdotes involving Tracy Morgan, cocaine-equipped screenwriters for an Oliver Stone project and ultimate party-animal praise:

“My first night in New York ever, I went down to the Meatpacking District and a journalist friend named Steve Garbarino showed me my first gay bar. We went to an after-hours club called Marylou’s, and this guy recognized me. He said, “You’re the party animal! I just read about you. I got to get you a drink!”

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HarperCollins Keeps a Lid on Explosive Zodiac Killer Claim

MostDangerousAnimal_CoverWhen the B.G. Dilworth Agency brought this particular book proposal to HarperCollins 15 months ago, it was a “standard acquisition process except for the NDA.” That according to a publicist at the publisher who spoke to New York magazine’s Elon Green.

Green’s exclusive Intelligencer item last night has tipped a wave of rippling media coverage today about a son’s claim via The Most Dangerous Animal of All (hitting shelves today) that his dad was the infamous “Zodiac Killer.” Gary L. Stewart came to this frightening familial conclusion after 12 years of research. From Green’s item:

For months, dozens of HarperCollins staff — sales, marketing, publicity and legal — have managed to keep a potentially explosive new book almost entirely quiet. The Most Dangerous Animal of All is being published Tuesday but still has no cover art on the publisher’s website…. As of 1:30 p.m. Monday, its Amazon sales rank was #140,113.

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NPR Pays Tribute to Pioneering Female Journalist Nellie Bly

NellieBlyeBookCoverTo mark the birthday of the one-and-only Nellie Bly, born May 5, 1864 in Burell Township, PA, NPR’s Morning Edition today welcomed Jean Marie Lutes, editor of a brand new compilation of Bly’s articles.

The pen-named Ms. Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, was most famous for a pair of extended assignments: ten days undercover as a crazy person in a New York area mental asylum and 72 days spanning the globe for a Phileas Fogg-worthy trip. Credit for that first daring assignment goes largely to a quick-thinking New York newspaper editor:

“One morning, Bly borrowed carfare from her landlady, took a cab down to the New York World building and she just sneaked in,” Lutes said. “She worked her way into an editor’s office, and she offered to go to Europe and return steerage class, to write about the experience of immigrants coming to the United States.”

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