Will focus on the major stories the host has covered
Cable news host, journalist, and divisive media personality Piers Morgan has just signed a deal to pen a new book for Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books about his life at CNN, one that he's characteristically already announced will detail a life that is like " ‘The Newsroom’ on steroids.”
The book, to be published in October, is set to be titled the tongue-twisting and mouth-filling "Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney." In the new book, Morgan will reportedly detail "his adrenaline-fueled life at CNN as host of 'Piers Morgan Live' including the real time drama of covering huge breaking news stories from the killing of Osama bin Laden to the massacre at Newtown; the controversy and danger surrounding his high-profile gun control campaign; the trials and tribulations of anchoring a nightly cable news show in the world’s most ruthless, competitive, and pressurized media marketplace; and the unpredictable, fascinating, and often hilarious challenge of interviewing the world’s biggest stars and world leaders."
While that sounds like quite a bit of material, the book will also be written in an easily digestible diary format. And, as insidery and no-holds as Morgan may say his book will end up being, it's fair to note that he's still employed by CNN, so this will not be the sort of roman a clef that really blows the doors of the news institution.
Gallery Book's Vice President and Publisher Jennifer Bergstrom commented on the new book, "I fully expect 'Shooting Straight' to enlighten some readers and enrage others. Either way, it will be a thought-provoking book that I’m thrilled to publish.” That certainly sounds about right.
The book will be Morgan's eighth, but will likely be most similar to his 2005 book "The Insider," which was also written in a diary style and focused on his year working as a journalist in Britain. [via AP and Simon & Schuster]
J.W. Rinzler's October release is packed with trivia, art, and so much more
The English literary group PEN is raising money by auctioning off annotated books by famous writers
The English version of PEN, the worldwide literary group that campaigns on behalf of writers and their readers, came up with a new fundraising idea they've dubbed First Editions, Second Thoughts. Fifty famous writers were given first editions of their most famous novels and told to go to town on them with pen and ink: notes, drawings (Rowling apparently included some of her sketches of the magical world, including a little drawing of baby Harry on a doorstep).
Bing: More on J. K. Rowling
"The joy of these books is that, so often, the writer has responded in a voice as immediately recognizable as that in the work itself," Rick Gekoski, the curator of the auction, writes in his introduction to the catalog. There are no banal questions--like the kind asked at every author event--he promises, just secret thoughts on the text. His hope is that the marked up edition will stand as the "definitive" edition of the book. He and his colleagues found opening each book as they arrived from the authors as exciting as opening a birthday present.
Sotheby's London is running the May 21st auction. The online catalog is available here, complete with sneak peeks inside many of the volumes (although not, unfortunately, Rowling's). The funny ones, like Nick Hornby, crack jokes about being over protective of specific commas and admits that he couldn't write the book now, because "I'm too old to care about these things as much as I did then." Thomas Keneally, who wrote "Schindler's Ark" (which was the basis for the movie "Schlinder's List") added notes in flowing cursive on 137 pages of his text, and says he was overwhelmed by the book's "drama and terror and ambiguities" as he reread and marked it up. Of one image he'd created, he writes he had "totally forgotten" but that it was "Not bad, if a trifle ornate." The same might be said for some of these writer's handwriting.
No word on how much the very special copy of J. K. Rowling's first "Harry Potter" book or any of the other auction items are expected to fetch since this is a charity auction. Other participating authors include Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, William Boyd and P.D. James.
Bing: More on the world's most expensive books
8 lessons we learned while living in the no-fun before 6PM food world
For the last week I've been VB6.
That's not a Star Trek term even if it sounds like one. I've been test driving the acclaimed Mark Bittman's new quasi-cookbook "VB6," which has multiple subtitles. I'll just tell you the most important one. "Eat Vegan Before 6." As in 6 pm, not am, which all of us could do in our sleep.
Before this week, my stand on veganism has amounted to this collection of shallow thoughts.
-Once I had a good vegan cookie.
-Those shoes are hideous, even on Natalie Portman.
-If the vegan wasn't going to come to book club I wish she'd have told me before I committed to this thoroughly depressing pasta dish.
Although I understood this was less a cookbook than a guidebook to healthy living, I opted not to download Bittman's book on my Kindle, because it seems foolish to combine electronics and cooking. I even paid full price for it, at my local bookstore, which needs the money. I've gifted Bittman's other books to several bachelor friends (a unscientific survey demonstrates that 83 percent of single men have at least one of Bittman's "How to Cook" series), this was my first Bittman purchase for myself. When it comes to compendiums, I tend to favor old gold standards like "Joy of Cooking" or my more recent favorite, Amanda Hesser's updated "The New York Times Cookbook." And although I do occasionally use Bittman's recipes from the Sunday New York Times Magazine--he liberated me from Thomas Keller's awesome but time-sucking fried chicken recipe--mostly I'm turned off by the presentation. All those boxes with instructions like "take out the ginger and replace it with semolina" just seem so anal. They make me feel like I'm being told the best way to pack a car. (You know what the best way to pack a car is? Open car, put crap in, close door. No one has ever pulled me over to grade me on stacking prowess.) Just give me one good recipe and leave it at that.
Bing: More on Mark Bittman
But from both a political and health standpoint, any move away from animal protein makes good sense. I'd never be able to go vegan all the time, just as I couldn't go purely vegetarian (once I discussed cohabitation with a beloved vegetarian, and he said I wouldn't be able to cook meat in his house and all I could think was, but I love Bolognese. And, not even Osso Bucco?) But it only takes one documentary about our food system to make you think twice and I've probably seen a dozen. Moreover I'd just finished reading Lionel Shriver's upcoming novel "Big Brother," which tackles the American obesity problem and was inspired by her own brother's death from obesity related issues. I was primed to at least give it a try.
Before I made my purchase I noted that the reviews on Amazon were not entirely glowing, marked by a tendency to diss the recipes. Some said that Bittman, who has been living a vegan until 6 pm lifestyle for 6 years, had already written enough about VB6 in The New York Times to make the book extraneous.
My own skepticism revolved mostly around the "before 6" business. Bittman eats vegan for breakfast, lunch and all snacks and then does as he pleases at the dinner hour, including drinking and eating red meat. In moderation of course. But this contradicts what we've been told about the healthy aspect of eating a good lunch and a light dinner. We're not supposed to bulk up as we head toward bed. Yet I went forward with my trial run.
Here's what I learned from being "VB6."
1. I enjoyed feeling virtuous before 6 but being so good during the day led to increased wine consumption with dinner. On day 5, I mixed myself a vodka gimlet at 10 pm. And then another. That makes double the number of vodka gimlets I made myself in the previous six months.
2. However, I think I might smell better.
3. I was snappish (possibly unrelated).
4. Going out to lunch becomes all about the company when you end up eating what is essentially a salad sandwich (see photo below). Maybe that's how it should be anyway.
5. I really like yogurt. It's important to me. Maybe because I grew up in the 70s, when 105 year-old crones always seemed to be emerging from Russian mountains or Greek villages to grin gummily at the world and modestly attribute their remarkable longevity to a diet of yoghurt. I craved yogurt so much that twice I had it for dessert after dinner, with berries and nuts. Normally I'm more of a cookies/brownies/ice cream woman so I see this as a positive, but there's no way I'm going to permanently remove yogurt from mornings forever, because without it in the lineup, my other regular, which is vegan, a steel cut oatmeal-almond milk-sunflower seeds-berry combo, gets a little dull. Bittman does suggest that last night's leftover vegetables can make a fine breakfast. Right.
6. It might just be a splash of milk in my tea, but I need it.
7. Honey is not vegan? Good lord.
8. Bittman's lentil salad (above) is nice although it's nothing that an egg or some feta cheese wouldn't improve. His DIY whole wheat flatbread is disappointing on first taste but grows on you until I found myself, just a minute ago, craving the stuff. (Eating it with a slice of cheddar you feel like a farm hand in a Thomas Hardy novel.) On the other hand, I ate more bread products while attempting VB6 than I would generally for one simple reason: I was hungry.
I'm already fairly clean living. I avoided the middle aisles of the supermarket long before Michael Pollan told me to. We attempt Meatless-Monday in my house although usually it's more like Meatless-Is-It-Wednesday-Already? I haven't put butter on a vegetable in at least 10 years, except for perhaps a holiday brussel sprout. There is whole wheat pasta in my cupboard although generally speaking, it tends to stay there. However, I do slip whole wheat flour into pizza crusts, banana muffins, etc.. And I'll always do that.
So I'm not a complete convert by any means, but I have no regrets over buying Bittman's latest. The opening section is full of useful information about what he's espousing, which is not a "hocus-pocus" diet but a lifestyle change. "I'm betting that VB6 will insure you to make the changes described in the book and stay dedicated to these new habits because you'll genuinely enjoy the food you're eating," Bittman writes. Well kind of, sort of. I'll keep trying his recipes. I'll try to make my favorite wheat berry salad and leave out the tuna and egg. But the 6 pm aspect of it I'm most likely to ignore. He owes the structure of VB6 to his professional life--a guy who writes about food for a living is unavoidably going to have to go out to dinner on a very regular basis. And when he does, he can't be fussing about the animal protein he consumes. There is no reason for those of us who aren't food writers to live that way. I'll aim for more of a VB12 approach. Or maybe VB12-6.
Bing: More on the pros and cons of veganism
We certainly think so!
Thanks, 'The Great Gatsby'?
In which we suggest books for nearly every kind of mother
If your mother digs an anthology that might make her cry, just a little, over the beauty of motherhood: Try "What My Mother Gave Me," a collection of essays edited by the novelist Elizabeth Benedict and featuring the likes of Roxana Robinson, Caroline Leavitt and "Admission" author Jean Hanff Korelitz. Ann Hood's essay "White Christmas," about the time she finally worked up the courage to tell her mother to stop buying her matchy-matchy outfits is a sweet gem, as is Mary Morris' wistful "She Gave Me the World." A box of chocolates, a bouquet and this wise little book will put you in good stead with your mother.
If your mother grooves on historical fiction and anything to do with Maine: Christina Baker Kline's novel "Orphan Train" would be absolutely perfect. Did you know that between 1854 and 1929, East Coast orphans were rounded up, put on a train and sent West? Some were adopted, the lucky ones, others ended up as little more than servants. Niamh, a 9 year old from Ireland left orphaned by a fire in 1927 is one of the less lucky ones. The story picks up in 2011 as a contemporary Maine teenager named Molly, who is living an unhappy life in foster care, begins a community service project cleaning out the attic of an ancient old woman with a big house right on the water. Fast and engaging, "Orphan Train" is exactly the kind of book your mother might want to sit down with after you make her eggs benedict and fruit salad.
If your mother is into Hallmark greeting cards or is a devotee of "Dancing with the Stars" watching sort: Then what about Marie Osmond's "The Key is Love," her memoir subtitled "My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude?" It's filled with wisdoms passed on during the "Donny & Marie" years, like "A young woman should hold herself as a precious jewel." Not my thing, since I tend to hold myself like flesh and blood, but maybe it's your mother's? I can imagine Ann Romney snapping this up for her many daughters in law.
Bing: More on author Elizabeth Benedict
If your mother is impatiently awaiting the next Gillian Flynn: I'd offer her "Reconstructing Amelia," Kimberly McCreight's debut novel about Kate, a New York lawyer devastated by her teenaged daughter's alleged suicide. After she receives an anonymous text that says "Amelia didn't jump" Kate begins to investigate not just her child's tragic death, but the days and months leading up to it. The writing isn't quite as sharp as Flynn's, but the look at teenaged "Gossip Girl" culture is well drawn and Kate's anguish and determination to get at the truth is compelling.
If your mother has a thing for Sylvia Plath: Look, it's weird, the savagely talented poet sealed off her children to keep them safe from the gas and then put her head in the oven and ever since, a certain type of woman has become fascinated by her. They'll read anything about Plath, letters, journals, gossip, poems by her, poems about her. I'm one of them, so I immediately latched on to Elizabeth Winder's book "Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953." It's about the summer Plath worked as one of the 20 guest editors for Mademoiselle, the summer she would then mine for the content of her only novel, "The Bell Jar." It's possible I didn't need to know that "Sylvia had fruit juice, an egg, two pieces of toast, and coffee at the café downstairs' on June 1, 1953 or that she was wearing a "Mexican print dress with a boat neck and tight bodice" but Winder's diligence in obtaining every available fact about that month is admirable.
If your mother is into fine literature and has any interest in photography: Marisa Silver's "Mary Coin" is exactly the ticket. I've already written about it once for Page turner but I love this novel, which imagines the back story behind Dorothea Lange's most famous photograph of the Great Depression, "Migrant Mother." Silver goes deftly back and forth between subjects and time frames, weaving together the story of Mary Dodge (the name she gives Lange's subject) as a young, desperately poor mother, the photographer in various stages of her life and a California professor who discovers a family connection to the photo.
If your mother is super hip: Anna Stothard's "The Pink Hotel," a newly released novel that opens at a party celebrating the life of Lily, the proprietor of a hotel on Venice Beach (yes, a pink one), recently dead and mourned by many, including a host of lovers, husbands and one daughter who she abandoned long ago and is now a teenager. It's a bit the reverse of "Reconstructing Amelia," in that the unnamed narrator, Lily's daughter, is the one investigating her mother, who her English father has led her to believe is "a coward, a slut, a terrible mother." Personally, I think nothing says I love you on Mother's Day than a book about a terrible mother; it puts your own flaws in such improved perspective. Anna Paquin has optioned it and plans to make it into a film. "This book moved and provoked me in ways I can't fully articulate," Paquin says of "The Pink Hotel." It also made the short list for the 2012 Orange Prize.
If your mother is an avid reader of the New York Times Sunday Book Review and has a tendency to judge a book by its cover: Following up on her acclaimed debut novel "No One is Here Except for All of Us" Ramona Ausebel has a new collection of short stories, "A Guide to Being Born," which should entertain the literary mom who likes something pretty on her nightstand (not to be shallow, but look at that cover, isn't it gorgeous?). The collection of 11 stories charts the life cycle from birth to motherhood (with a little death thrown in there for good measure) and is being compared to Maile Meloy's "Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It."
Bing: More on Anna Paquin