Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Bits - Part 2

by Lindsay Deutch)

'Duty' calls: Robert Gates, 70, who served as President George W. Bush's last Defense secretary and President Obama's first one, told USA TODAY's Susan Page he was able to be blunt in his memoir, Duty, because "I never intend to go back in Washington in an official role." His book, which includes sharp criticism of Vice President Biden and Congress, as well as doubts about Obama, lands atop USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list. Gates' media blitz included appearances on CBS, NPR, NBC and Fox. - Bob Minzesheimer

'Flowers' power: Time to dust off your copy of Flowers in the Attic. V.C. Andrews' salacious 1979 novel is back in vogue, thanks to the universally panned but widely watched Lifetime movie adaptation, which drew 6.1 million viewers Saturday. It hits USA TODAY's list for the first time, at No. 46. In the campy TV movie, siblings (led by Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka) are locked in an attic for years and take comfort in each other (yes, that means incest). This may be the first of many Andrews revivals; Lifetime is already developing Petals on the Wind, Flowers' sequel in the five-part series.

'Hollow' victory: Using creepy vintage photos to help tell a story is Ransom Riggs' "peculiar" passion. Hollow City, the second book in a planned trilogy and the sequel to his young-adult best seller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, lands at No. 6. Riggs' debut novel peaked at No. 31 in January 2013. (Peregrine is No. 45 this week. A film version is due in summer 2015.) Referring to some of the images in Hollow City, Riggs told The New York Times: "I love them because they're beautiful photographs of horrible things." - Jocelyn McClurg

New 'Today' pick: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is the Today show's new book club pick! Natalie Morales will host a Google Hangout with Horan on Feb. 27. Starry Sky re-imagines the courtship and adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Osbourne.

Wintry reads: Here on the East Coast, the polar vortex is in full force, which means school's out and kids are getting antsy for new activities. USA TODAY's Bob Minzesheimer reviews four snow-themed picture books for young readers.

Snowden book: Luke Harding, the investigative reporter who told the story of Edward Snowden for The Guardian, has a deal with Vintage Books to write The Snowden Files, "the definitive story of the most spectacular intelligence breach ever," due out as an e-book and paperback original on Feb. 11.