Friday, February 7, 2014

Book Bits

by Lindsay Deutsch)

He's a star: John Green is an Internet god — the young-adult author has more than 2 million followers on Twitter, and droves of "Nerdfighters" flock to his YouTube videos, Instagram updates and near-daily digital affirmations. Now he reigns over USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list. The Fault in Our Stars, Green's bittersweet love story of teenage cancer patients, hits No. 1 for the first time after spending 93 weeks on the list since 2012. The reason could be right on our screens — the movie adaptation's highly anticipated trailer has raked in nearly 10 million views on YouTube since last week. The movie, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, is due June 6.

Girl talk: La La Anthony scores a hit with her first book, The Love Playbook, which offers "Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness" just in time for Valentine's Day. It lands at No. 28. Anthony, star of La La's Full Court Life on VH1, must know her stuff: She got the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony to put a ring on it. La La's "rules" include "Love yourself first" and "What you see is what you get with a man." - Jocelyn McClurg

Literate cities: For the fourth year in a row, Washington, D.C., is the most literate city in the country, according to an annual study by Central Connecticut State University. Runners up: Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. How does your city match up? Check out the list of 77 cities.

Kelly Corrigan tells a new tale: Best-selling memoirist Kelly Corrigan (The Middle Place) is back with a new memoir, Glitter and Glue, about her time working as a nanny for an Australian widower, and how it helped her relationship with her own mother. She talks to USA TODAY's Bob Minzesheimer about health, parents and thinking you know everything at 24.

Feeling fiction: It's science and it's fiction. But it's real. Engineers at MIT have created a wearable vest that can be attached to an e-book to create an immersive experience, according to a profile from NPR's Weekly Innovation series. How's it work? "By combining networked sensors and actuators, the wearable can change lighting, sound, temperature, chest tightness and even heart rate of the reader to match what the main character in the book is going through." Simply fascinating.

Book clubbin': Forget boring old book club discussion questions -- what if you could ask the author directly? The New York Times' Julie Bosman explores Book the Writer, a company that, for a $750 fee, sets club members up with authors of the books they're reading.

The alcoholic writer: Buzzfeed has a fascinating Q&A with Olivia Laing, author of The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, which centers on six iconic -- and alcoholic -- American writers (Cheever, Carver, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams and Berryman). On fear as inspiration: "Maybe that's a legacy of growing up in an alcoholic family, and also a queer but closeted family: a desire not to be in denial, to call things by their true names." For USA TODAY, Kevin Nance gave the "collection of sad stories" 3 1/2 stars (out of four), writing that the book gives "a deeper understanding to these great, flawed, wounded men and a more nuanced appreciation of their work, which grew out of such sickness of the mind, body and soul."