Whether you agree with the current presidential administration or not, odds are you like Michelle Obama; according to Gallup, 65% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the first lady. So, I thought many of you would appreciate a little tidbit I read at the bottom of a recent post on the New York Times' Caucus blog: "According to aides, the first lady is already gathering material for the memoir she will write one day."
Yippee! I know that a memoir written by a first lady is pretty much expected these days, but I won't lie and say I'm not very excited about a book penned by Mrs. O.
Speaking of memoirs written by high-powered women, there are a couple more in the works that might be of interest to women trying to get their foot in the door at work.
Kate White, the soon-to-be-former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, has written a book called I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. HarperBusiness—who says the book is a "straight-talking new career guide for women"—will release the book on September 18. (By the way, White is also the author of the Bailey Weggins mystery series. Fans of those books should cheer her stepping down from Cosmo; she's leaving to concentrate on writing.)
A week ago, Publishers Marketplace posted the news that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will publish a book with Knopf in 2013. Called Lean In, it is a:
"call to action" on challenges facing women in the workplace, providing what she calls "practical advice for women -- and the men who want to help them -- on how to lean in and close the gap" (via Publishers Marketplace)
Do you enjoy business books and memoirs of how women rose to the top of their careers? Are you interested in Michelle Obama's life story? Of all the many, many political memoirs out there, are there any you think that stand out from the crowd?
Big news for fans of comedy, rock music and women with a story to tell: Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney and recent pop-culture phenomenon "Portlandia" will be publishing a memoir with Riverhead Books. Publicity director Jynne Martin tells us that it will be "a memoir of her life in music, from ardent fan to pioneering female guitarist to comedic performer and luminary of the independent rock world."
No title or release date has been announced, but we'll be sure to share more details when we have them. I saw Brownstein live in Nashville during a stop on the live Portlandia tour (see blurry iPhone photo for proof). The audience was pretty wrapped up in the performance, to the extent of storming the stage when one audience member was invited up during a performance of "Dancing in the Dark."
While you wait for the memoir, check out this fascinating profile of Brownstein and Armistead in the New Yorker. Or watch one of my favorite "Portlandia" clips below.
Recently, Anna Quindlen has been focusing on fiction—but readers are sure to rejoice when they hear that the former Newsweek and New York Times columnist will be chronicling her own life once again this May in Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Random House).
Marriage, girlfriends, kids, your mother, faith, possessions, solitude, and more—like her other nonfiction and her original New York Times column, “Life in the 30s,” this book gives us the heartfelt, insightful, wise Quindlen, the one who says for us what we wish we could have said ourselves.
One of my favorite documentaries (and movies, period, if you want to know the truth) of the past couple years was The September Issue, the behind-the-scenes story of the September 2007 issue of Vogue.
Even if you aren't particularly interested in fashion, or you don't understand Anna Wintour's fame, I think you'd still be intrigued by the dynamics of the storied magazine—and appreciate the creative process of putting together an 840-page publication.
This is relevant to book lovers because yesterday Publishers Marketplace announced that Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington will write a memoir. The book will be about "her modeling days in Sixties London, the car accident that changed her career path and her ascendancy through fashion's ranks as a stylist and editor at British Vogue and, later, its American counterpart." Random House reportedly paid a whopping $1.2 million for the book. The editor is Susan Kamil, who has worked on such recent BookPage favorites as The Imperfectionists, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.
But back to The September Issue. The eccentric Coddington—who wears all black, has wild red hair and doesn't mind sparring with Wintour to advocate for a spread she's passionate about—completely stole the movie. On YouTube you can watch one of my favorite scenes, of Coddington at Versailles.
I am so excited to read Coddington's story. Which artist or creative person would you like to write a book?
Nearly two years ago, Jaycee Dugard was discovered living in a shed in the backyard of the man who abducted her at the age of 11 and is the father of her two daughters.
Now that her court case against Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy has been settled with a guilty plea, Dugard is telling her own story in a book to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 12 called A Stolen Life.
The public hunger for details about the Dugard case creates even more parallels to Emma Donoghue's bestseller, Room, which was inspired by a similar case in Austria. Hopefully Dugard, who has not spoken publicly or given interviews since her recovery, is prepared for the media onslaught that will doubtless ensue once the book is published.
Are you interested in reading Dugard's memoir?
We were excited enough about interviewing Gabrielle Hamilton for the March issue of BookPage. Now it turns out that the author of Blood, Bones & Butter is also America's Best Chef—at least according to the James Beard Foundation.
If you haven't already read our interview with her, this would be a good time to check it out! Meanwhile, we at BookPage hope to check out Prune the next time we're in NYC.
This may be a bit unusual for a bookworm of my generation, but I am especially excited about some rockin' memoir-related news. If you grew up belting "The Weight" and "Up On Cripple Creek," I think you'll agree that this is a book to get excited about.
Robbie Robertson of The Band will write a memoir for Crown. According to Publishers Marketplace he'll be:
chronicling every aspect of his personal and musical odyssey, from his childhood as the son of a Jewish father and Canadian Mohawk mother through his experiences with Ronnie Hawkins, The Band and Bob Dylan, and as a solo artist and collaborator on film music with Martin Scorsese.
What about you? What musician do you want to write a memoir?
Joanna Smith Rakoff's 2009 debut novel, A Fortunate Age, was an epic depiction of a decade in the life of a group of Generation X-ers. Although BookPage reviewer Kim Schmidt noted that the story had an abrupt ending—and the large number of characters was a bit overwhelming—she recognized that the novel was an overall success.
If you read A Fortunate Age and wondered what Rakoff would write next, then wonder no more: Today, Publishers Marketplace announced that she will write a memoir titled My Salinger Year. I titled this post "Deal of the day" because the book description is pretty darn intriguing:
MY SALINGER YEAR [is] the memoir of a young woman—pitched as reminiscent of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and JULIE & JULIA—with literary aspirations who, in the 1990s, takes a clerical job at a storied literary agency, and finds herself surrounded by titanic personalities and legendary authors, including the mysterious and iconic J.D. Salinger
Have you read about any book deals lately that especially caught your attention? By the way, read more about Rakoff's relationship with Salinger (or rather, his fan mail) here.
Rhoda Janzen, author of the hilarious #1 bestseller Mennonite in a Little Black Dress will write another memoir. The deal was published today on Publishers Marketplace with the following summary: "[an] untitled humorous and heartfelt memoir about her return to faith and love, for readers who secretly sing hymns in their cars, but prefer a nice mimosa brunch to church."
I did a bit of digging for more information on this project and came across an interview Janzen did with Smith back in 2010. When asked about upcoming projects, Janzen explained that her second memoir takes off where Mennonite left off:
It’s a book about sliding back into religion; the sort of spiritual motion I was making toward the end of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress continues, and I’m on this journey . . . Then it also tells the story of my recent marriage, of becoming a mom for the first time, a little bit of cancer drama: chemo-emo. It’s a fun book.
Did you read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress? Will you read Janzen's second memoir?
Singer/songwriter Patti Smith won the National Book Award in 2010 for her memoir, Just Kids. It was her first book of prose—but the Guardian reports that she has been working on a crime novel for two years. A longtime fan of detective stories, Smith cites Mickey Spillane and Sherlock Holmes as influences.
Fans of Smith's musical work also have something to look forward to: she's recording a new album.
Do you think songwriters can be good novelists? Nick Hornby has made the transition in the other direction in a collaboration with Nashville musician Ben Folds, and one of my favorite songwriters, Josh Ritter, will release a first novel in July. Are there others you can think of?