May 27, 2005Pop Culture)
Bono, the one-named lead singer for the world's biggest rock band—U2—has finally written his memoir. Well, not really. He just talked. A lot. And had some poor sap take notes.
Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas is exactly that, Bono and Assayas, his longtime friend, chatting. For 323 pages. Rock stars—is there anything they can't do?
And if you're a U2 fan or a Bono freak, that's good news. Everybody else might want to hold out for a real autobiography, one with a narrative (read my review). But don't hold your breath.
If you are a Bono fan, there's plenty of wise pontificating...
May 23, 2005Book Buzz)
As if recycling his life for Freaks and Geeks and the collection of essays Kick Me wasn't enough, Feig explores his lack of dating prowess, thanks to apparent dorkiness and religious beliefs.
"Superstud, Sam! Go for superstud!"
May 19, 2005Pop Culture)
The Star Wars mania, prompted by today's release of Revenge of the Sith, continues in the world of books. Christianity Today is featuring a four-part series on the spirituality of Star Wars, excerpted from the book Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies by Roy M. Anker. The essay focuses on the original series and goes into considerable detail.Book Buzz)
Morgan Spurlock, the man who ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and turned it into the Academy award-winning documentary Super Size Me has turned to print. His new work, Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, chronicles his fast food diet and takes on America's obsession with unhealthy eating.
In addition to Don't Eat This Book, Spurlock is working on a new reality TV show, 30 Days, and his fiancée, Alex Jamieson is publishing The Great American Detox Diet, a cookbook featuring the vegan detox diet Spurlock used to return to normal after all that McDonald's.
May 17, 2005Book Buzz)
It's NASCAR racing from the vantage point of a motorhome racking up 50,000 miles following the top racing circuit. Sunday Money is a well-written (sometimes too well--I noticed Jeff MacGregor kept slipping into page-long paragraphs over-elaborating on a metaphor) account of life in NASCAR, following the 2002 season.
The only downside is that 2002 makes it more than dated. You can't help but wonder why this book didn't come out in 2004 or even 2003.
May 16, 2005Interviews)
The end of the world is seriously nigh. Or so people have been saying for thousands of years. Author Jason Boyett takes a swipe at all that prophetic nay-saying and teaches people a thing or two about the end times in his latest book, Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (read the review). Jason was kind enough to submit to an e-mail interview, which gives you an in-depth look at poking fun at the apocalypse, as well as reveals what we all wanted to know: Jason's favorite Buffy episode.
Why the Apocalypse? What on earth—or beyond the earth—possessed you to write a guide to the end of the world?
I want to become rich and famous as an author. And, these days, in order to become a rich and famous author, you either need to write a book with "Purpose-Driven" in the title or you need to write about the End Times. I chose the latter.
May 14, 2005Extracurricular)
Sort of. A new study by the U.S. Department of Education has tracked children, parenting habits and test scores to see what works and what doesn't. The result are surprising, including the news that a child with 50 books in their home scores 5% higher than a child with no books. A child with 100 books scores another 5% higher. (With the 1,400+ books in my house my kids, when we have them, are going to be geniuses!)
But it's not just cause and effect. Whether or not the parent read to the child had no effect. The presence of books in a household is more of an indicator that parents care about education. (link via Jordon Cooper)
May 12, 2005Book Buzz)
Novelist Anne Rice, famous for her works on the supernatural, including Interview with a Vampire, Exit to Eden and Queen of the Damned, is turning to the life of Jesus Christ. Her next novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, will cover the early life of Christ from his perspective.
Rice reports it's something she's wanted to do for 10 years and has been working on it for the past five. It's due in November.
"I'm not a priest," Rice writes in a letter accompanying review copies. "I can't be one. I'll never be able to go to the altar of the Lord and say the words of consecration at Mass, 'This is my body. This is my blood.' No, I can't work that magnificent Eucharistic miracle. But in humility, I have attempted something transformative which we writers dare to call a miracle in the imperfect human idiom we possess. It's to bring Him here in the form a story, and that story is Christ The Lord."Book Buzz)
Acts of Faith is a hefty 688-page novel from Pulitzer-winning author Philip Caputo that explores the civil war in Sudan. His cast of characters includes Americans, missionaries, Arabs, and locals and makes for an incredibly current work considering the continued mess in Darfur.
Looks like a candidate for my reading list.Book Buzz)
One editorial is picturing a utopian vision of Washington politicians sitting down in a book club—perhaps convened by evangelist Billy Graham or Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs—and reading Gilead. The Pulitzer-winning novel has much to say about forgiveness that's surprising biblical and could bring some needed sanity to politics.
But sanity in politics isn't exactly realistic, is it?Industry)
The vice president and publisher of Wiley books, Joe Wikert, is blogging. You can blame Robert Scoble and Shel Israel who pushed Wikert into it as a way of sealing the deal on their forthcoming business blogging book. Wikert took up the challenge and has been blogging since February. Check it out for a behind the scenes look at the publishing industry.
May 7, 2005Good Books)
The New York Times offers a happy review of Anne Lamott's latest book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. The review covers it pretty well, though I'd add that it's no Traveling Mercies, which is arguably Lamott's best-loved book.
Traveling Mercies had a specific story to tell (at least the first half) and you felt like you were going somewhere with her ramblings about life and insecurity that eventually led to faith. But Plan B doesn't have a concrete destination like conversion in mind. In fact, it's a collection of disjointed essays that appeared on Salon.com over a period of a year or two. The result is a lot of George W. Bush bashing and not much narrative flow. That's OK, you just have to know what to expect. She's still hilarious and talks about God and Jesus in the most delightfully inappropriate ways.
(Read my review)Pop Culture)
The first new biography of the late Pope John Paul II came out this week, and it's just an example of the publishing industry rushing to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle. Just like newspapers prepare obituaries ahead of time, book publishers are having to prepare autobiographies in expectation of the sudden interest in a famous personality when they die.
"It's fine that books appear instantly," says Roger Tagholm, deputy editor of trade paper Publishing News. "There will always be those who say that it's ambulance chasing but there's an immediate interest in whoever's just died - quickly producing a book services that interest."
May 2, 2005Pop Culture)
With Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith opening May 19 the book world is going Star Wars crazy as well. And this time it's religious. Newsweek points to two religious-themed Star Wars book in their article, "What Would Jar Jar Do?" (gotta love that title).
The first, The Dharma of Star Wars by Matthew Bortolin, explores the Buddhist thought that permeates ideas like the force. The second, commentator Dick Staub's Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters (what's up with that title?), which compares Luke Skywalker's Jedi path to a young Christian's journey of discipleship. "I think there's a much more interesting conversation about spirituality happening in pop culture than there is in the typical church," says Staub. I actually have a copy of Staub's lamely titled book on my desk, though it's buried in a stack of other need to reads.
Newsweek neglected Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine (part of the pop culture and philosophy series). It's more philosophy than religion, but hey, it's all deep stuff.Comic Books)
Chris Well, author of Forgiving Solomon Long,, points us to Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, May 7. Head to a participating comic book shop (enter your ZIP code to find one) and walk home with a free comic. Apparently the comic book makers print up special editions for this sort of thing, so you can score a copy of Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Batman, the Simpsons, Spiderman and The Fantastic Four, Uncle Scrooge (?!) and more. Many comic book shops will have signings with the creators, so check the details.