Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Bits

Ny Bob Minzesheimer)

Remembering 'Tony Soprano': Along with today's publication of Dan Bischoff''s biography, James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano, an audiobook version is being released. It's narrated by John Ventimiglia who played Artie Bucco, the restaurant owner, on The Sopranos. has posted Youtube videos of Ventimiglia recalling Gandolfini, who died last year at the age of 51.

New review: Rob Lowe's second memoir, Love Life, gets little love in a **½ (out of 4) USA TODAY review by Roberta Bernstein. She writes it feels "like a night on the town with a well-connected, charismatic friend with more tales to spill. Just don't expect to remember too many of them when you finish the last page." Lowe's book tour continues Wednesday with an appearance on Ellen.

Prize time: Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland make the six-book short list for Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (worth about $50,000), which celebrates "excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world." The winner will be honored June 4 in London. Both Tartt and Lahiri were on USA TODAY's list of the 10 books we loved reading in 2013, chosen by book editor Jocelyn McClurg and myself.

Leftovers teaser: Indiewire reports on the release of the first teaser trailer for HBO's series, The Leftovers, based on Tom Perotta's novel that imagines a rapture-like event. Indiewire calls the series, to debut June 15, "one of our 20 most anticipated TV shows of 2014." The novel landed at No. 51 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list in 2011.

TED books: TED Conferences, known for its popular video talks, and Simon & Schuster will co-publish a 12-book series of TED Books, starting in September. Each book will be short, no more than 20,000 words. Among the authors: travel writer Pico Iyer on The Virtue of Stillness and journalist Stephen Petranek on How We'll Live on Mars

Indies surge: Salon examines the "renaissance" of independent bookstores in an age of Amazon. It concludes, "Our digital tools are steering us toward brick-and-mortar stores that promise a more satisfactory consumer experience than either chain stores or online emporiums can provide." Related reading: my 2012 visit to author Ann Pachett's indie bookstore in Nashville.

Pennie's pick: Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's influential book buyer, makes A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki's novel inspired by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, her pick of the month for April, noting, "The plot is inventive and the story is, quite simply, beautiful."

You can follow USA TODAY's book reviewer and reporter Bob Minzesheimer on Twitter at #bookbobminz.

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