September 9, 2012 |
D.T. Max knew what he was getting into when he decided to write a biography of David Foster Wallace. In March 2009, he published a long piece in the New Yorker about Wallace's suicide and the author's inability to finish "The Pale King," the novel left incomplete at the time of his death. "It was 10,000 words, an immensity," Max says of his New Yorker article by phone from Long Island, where he is spending the last dwindling days of summer with his family. But even then, he knew there was more to say. Max wanted to get to know the intricacies of Wallace's life more fully.
August 15, 2012 |
Joe Paterno cried the day after a late-night phone call by the Penn State board of trustees ended his 46-year career as the Nittany Lions' head coach. "My name," Paterno told his son Jay. "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone. " Paterno cried continually that day. Sometimes the late coach "sobbed uncontrollably," according to the upcoming biography, "Paterno," by Joe Posnanski. GQ magazine features excerpts in its September issue.
July 18, 2012 |
Marissa Mayer Age: 37 Education: Bachelor's degree in symbolic systems and master's degree in computer science, both from Stanford University, each time specializing in artificial intelligence Hometown: Wausau, Wis. Personal: Married venture capitalist Zachary Bogue in 2009. The couple are expecting their first child, a boy, in October. Residences: Owns a penthouse in the Four Seasons in San Francisco and a home in Palo Alto, where she's known to throw lavish parties and fundraising dinners.
July 15, 2012
So you're an admirer of James Joyce's "Ulysses"? Well, thank Trieste for that book. Why? Gordon Bowker's "James Joyce: A New Biography" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 608 pp., $35) shows readers how living in that seaport city in northeastern Italy helped rekindle Joyce's enthusiasm after the lackluster reception of "Dubliners" and his uncertainty over what readers would think of "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. " The city not only gave him and wife Nora an income, it gave Joyce, as a teacher, an exceptional pupil: the writer Ettore Schmitz, known by the pen name Italo Svevo.
June 24, 2012 |
Cronkite Douglas Brinkley Harper: 820 pp., $34.99 Walter Cronkite was not inclined to introspection, and historian Douglas Brinkley emulates his subject in this thorough biography of the news broadcaster who in 1972 was declared "The Most Trusted Man in America. " Brinkley's lengthy narrative spends as much time on Cronkite's stints as a paperboy as on his father's alcoholism and his parents' divorce. The author seems more interested in the ins and outs of Cronkite's strained professional relationship with Dan Rather than in his 65-year marriage - though smart, sardonic Betsy Cronkite gets her due as the woman who could cut Walter down to size.
June 17, 2012 |
Barack Obama The Story David Maraniss Simon & Schuster: 643 pp., $32.50 Abnormal men become presidents of the United States. The overweening self-confidence required to reach for the office, the preternatural discipline and effort of will needed to grasp it - in another setting, these traits might be called pathological. Tracing the roots of abnormality becomes a recurring motif in presidential biographies: polio's impact on Franklin D. Roosevelt, the death of John F. Kennedy's eldest brother, the absent or dysfunctional fathers of Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton.
June 3, 2012
American Tapestry The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama Rachel L. Swarns Amistad, $27.99 An intimate look at the First Lady's colorful family tree going back five generations, traversing through the Revolutionary and Civil wars, the great migration and on to the White House. (June) As Texas Goes… How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda Gail Collins Norton/Liveright, $25.95 How the conservative political agenda growing deep in the heart of Texas is creating social and economic consequences for the rest of the country.
May 25, 2012 |
WASHINGTON-- Just in case there are any voters out there who don't already know that the incumbent president smoked marijuana as a teenager, several websites Friday revealed details from David Maraniss' soon-to-be-released biography about the young Barry Obama and his “choom gang.” Maraniss' book doesn't get officially released to the public until mid-June, but advance copies sent to reviewers have been circulating. And in the Internet era, efforts to maintain embargos on newsy details of new books have become increasingly futile.
May 20, 2012 |
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat Thomas McNamee Free Press, 339 pp., $27 Ask your average Food Network viewer or Yelp poster about Craig Claiborne and you're likely to be met with a blank look and a "Who?" How fleeting is fame in the food world. Claiborne is one of the giants of this modern age, even if today - less than 20 years after his passing - he is largely forgotten. People remember James Beard because of the foundation that keeps his name alive. Julia Child lives on in television reruns (even if some fans now believe she looked just like Meryl Streep)
May 4, 2012 |
A future president sits shirtless in his rent-controlled Manhattan apartment working the New York Times crossword while his girlfriend looks on, an emotional barrier separating him from those close to him. He is unsure of his future path in life but certain that it will be one he builds himself. That's the portrait David Maraniss paints of a young Barack Obama in an upcoming biography, "Barack Obama: The Story," which is excerpted in Vanity Fair. The biography ends as Obama heads to Harvard Law School, but the excerpt is mostly about Obama's early love life.