Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Bits

by Jocelyn McClurg)

Here's a look at what's buzzing in the book world today:

Easter miracle: After a lunch with Eric Carle, the celebrated children's author and illustrator in November, USA TODAY's Bob Minzesheimer wrote about Carle's picture book, Friends, which ends with a snapshot taken in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1932. It shows Carle, then 3, hugging a girl in a white dress. At 6, Carle's family moved, and he lost contact with the girl, whose name he couldn't remember. The USA TODAY article got the attention of The Syracuse Post-Standard. With the help of the Onondaga Historical Association, the newspaper eventually identified and located Carle's long-lost friend. On Sunday, Carle spoke by phone with Florence Trovato, 85, a retired school secretary who lives in Florida. The Post-Standard reported that after the call, Carle wrote her a note, saying, "It is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. My wife said it is an Easter Miracle!" He's sent her a copy of Friends.

New and noteworthy: USA TODAY offers a look at five books on sale this week, including Everybody's Got Something, a memoir by Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, and The Target, a new thriller by David Baldacci.

New USA TODAY reviews: Christopher Moore's new comic novel The Serpent of Venice is a Shakespearean mash-up which reviewer Charles Finch says "manages the lovely feat of revering Shakespeare by forswearing any hint of reverence" (3 stars out of four). And USA TODAY's Bob Minzesheimer reviews Updike, a new biography of the American novelist by Adam Begley. Minzesheimer calls it a "sympathetic and thorough biography… in which Begley acknowledges he's rooting for a surge in Updike's posthumous reputation" (3 stars).

Making 'Choices': Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir about her tenure as secretary of State finally has a title. It's Hard Choices, her publisher Simon & Schuster announced Friday. The book by the grandmother-to-be and possible presidential candidate is due June 10.

For sale: The New York Times reports that Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert has put her Italianate Victorian house in Frenchtown, N.J., on the market. It can be yours for $999,000. She's selling because she and her husband want to downsize and because she associates the home with her 2013 novel, The Signature of All Things. "I'm ready to write a new book and I can't do it in the 'Skybrary' because I feel like that room belongs to Alma," Gilbert says of Signature's protagonist.

Here's Hopin': Wally Lamb's 1960s Christmas story Wishin' and Hopin' is headed to the big screen, Entertainment Weekly reports. It's the first big-screen treatment for the author of best sellers including She's Come Undone and We Are Water.

Funny ladies: With her HBO show Girls gone for now, Lena Dunham fans await her new memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, due this fall. In the meantime, Bookish offers a guide to books by other funny ladies to tide us over, including Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Joan Rivers.

'Confidence' game: Watch a video as USA TODAY's Laura Petrecca chats with Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of the new book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know.

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