Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Bits Part Two

by Joceylyn McClurg)

New and noteworthy: USA TODAY's Jocleyn McClurg previews some of the most promising books to be released this week, including Lean In for Graduates by Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg who expands on her best seller, Lean In, and Rob Lowe's second memoir, Love Life. Lowe promotes the book Tuesday on The Late Show with David Letterman.

75 Year of 'Wrath': It's the novel that inspired songs by Bruce Springsteen and Woody Guthrie. Now, to mark the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the Great Depression, publisher Viking is releasing two anniversary editions this month. Penguin also is publishing On Reading The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw. Publishers Weekly asked Shillinglaw to list what she considers Steinbeck's 13 best books.

New Issaacson book: Simon & Schuster says it's publishing a new book by Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, on Oct. 7. Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, the best-selling non-fiction book of 2011, hit No. 1 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

Prize time: The American Library Association has announced the shortllst for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for the best fiction and non-fiction books for adults. Among the six finalists are Donna Tartt's best-selling novel, The Goldfinch, and Doris Kearns Goodwin's dual biography The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Last fall, I interviewed Goodwin, Hollywood's favorite historian.

New USA TODAY reviews: Dorothy Must Die, the first in Danielle Paige's new teen series that re-imagines the land of Oz, gets ***½ (out of 4) from USA TODAY's Brian Truitt, who writes that Paige "conjures great takes on favorite characters." In another ***½ review for USA TODAY, Sharon Peters says Frances Mayes' Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir, is told "with perfect-pitch language."

New life: Gail Caldwell, former book critic of The Boston Globe, appears on public radio's Diane Rehm Show today to discuss her third memoir, New Life No Instructions, about life at 60 with a new hip and a new dog. I gave the book *** in my review for USA TODAY.

Matthiessen dead: Author and naturalist Peter Matthiessen, who won National Book Awards in non-fiction (for The Snow Leopard in 1979) and fiction (for Shadow Country in 2008), has died at the age of 86. In a front-page obituary in The New York Times, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould called Matthiessen "our greatest modern nature writer in the lyrical tradition."