Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Bits

by Joycelyn McClurg)

Rockin' Robin: As co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts usually gets to ask the questions. But since she was diagnosed with breast cancer and then a rare blood disorder, which required a bone marrow transplant, she has been answering questions about herself. Now she's making the media rounds discussing her memoir, Everybody's Got Something, which lands at No. 13 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list. The title comes from a question she asked her mother: "Why is this happening to me?" Her mom replied, "Honey, everybody's got something." On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Roberts, 53, said she's feeling "strong like bull," and added, "I have never been this happy nor healthy in such a long time." – Bob Minzesheimer

'Capital' showing: Thomas Piketty has been called a "rock-star economist" by The Financial Times. The Guardian joked that "when the movie is made about the fall of Western capitalism, Piketty will be played by Colin Firth." Thanks to media attention and rave reviews from liberals and attacks from conservatives, Piketty's 685-page manifesto, Capital in the 21st Century, which traces income inequality over several centuries, lands at No. 23 on USA TODAY's list, a rare best seller about economics. Piketty, 42, who's taught at MIT, is a professor at the Paris School of Economics. – Bob Minzesheimer

May day: Get a head start on your summer reading with 10 big new books, as USA TODAY offers a May books preview. Among the highlights: a new thriller from Jo Nesbo called The Son; Midnight Crossroad, the first in a new paranormal trilogy from Charlaine Harris; and JFK, Jr., George and Me, a memoir by Matt Berman, who worked with Kennedy at George magazine.

Simply 'Delicious!': As part of our May books preview, I chatted with best-selling memoirist and food writer Ruth Reichl about her debut novel, Delicious! The tasty story of a young woman named Billie Breslin who works at a food magazine called Delicious! was inspired by Reichl's tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet magazine.

First look: Fans of Jan Karon's cozy Mitford series will be pleased to know she's returning to the fictional North Carolina town in September with her first Mitford novel in nine years, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good. We have a first peek at the jacket and an exclusive excerpt.

Closet case: The New York Times visits cartoonist Roz Chast at home in Ridgefield, Conn., and finds some unusual things in her closet, including her parents' ashes. Chast's new graphic novel, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, chronicles her elderly parents' decline.

Sales rise: January was a good month for book sales, particularly children's and young adult. According to the Association of American Publishers StatShot report for the first month of 2014, trade e-book sales increased 12.8% compared to 2013. The children's and YA category grew by 65.1% in e-books and 53.7% in hardcovers during the month.

Gerritsen sues: Tess Gerritsen, who wrote the astronaut novel Gravity, is suing Warner Bros., saying the studio didn't give her credit as an inspiration for the hit film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Warner Bros. bought the film rights in 1999. Gerritsen says the studio owes her 2.5% of profits.

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