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  • Posted 3/2/15 at 1:00 PM

Veronica Roth’s Divergent Follow-up Will Be Star Wars–esque

When you've already explored a postapocalyptic Chicago, the only logical next step is to follow up with a galaxy far, far away — or so seems the case for Veronica Roth. The author of the Divergent trilogy has announced another new series, via HarperCollins Children's Books, "in the vein of Star Wars." The two books, slated for 2017 and 2018, will "tell of a boy's unlikely alliance with an enemy." "Both desperate to escape their oppressive lives, they help each other attain what they most desire: for one, redemption, and the other, revenge," Roth says. As long as there's weird daddy issues involved, we're in.

  • Posted 2/26/15 at 1:49 PM
  • Primer

A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby [Updated]

Thirty years ago this fall, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

  • Posted 2/26/15 at 10:14 AM

Drew Barrymore Is Finally Publishing Her Life Story

How do you celebrate turning 40? By inking a book deal to publish your life story, of course. People reports that Drew Barrymore will release a collection of autobiographical essays, via Dutton. The book's described as "humorous, emotional, and welcoming" — so, a lot like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's recent memoirs, we're guessing. Barrymore previously chronicled her famously tumultuous childhood in 1991's Little Girl Lost, but says her new book will include more stories from that time in her life, like "living on her own at 14 (and how laundry may have saved her life), getting stuck in a gas station overhang on a cross-country road trip, saying goodbye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more adventures and lessons that have led to the most important thing in her life, which is motherhood."

Last year Barrymore also published Find It in Everything, a collection of personal photography. There's no expected release date or title for her new book yet, but we're seriously hoping it digs up a lot of old Hollywood dirt.

  • Posted 2/25/15 at 2:42 PM

Secret Girl: Decoding Kim Gordon’s Eternal Cool

There’s a great song on the first Sonic Youth album called “Shaking Hell.” The opening minute and a half — steely, ominous, unsteadily motoric — sounds like a piece of factory equipment malfunctioning in the moments before somebody loses a limb. Then, very suddenly, the machinery jams, the tempo slows to a crawl, and we hear the voice of the bass player, Kim Gordon, at once nervous and bracingly warriorlike: “She’s finally discovered she’s a …. He told her so!” 


Nelson George on D’Angelo and How His New Book Is Like The Lord of the Rings

For more than 20 years, Nelson George, the filmmaker, former Village Voice columnist, and music-cultural critic, has been dealing less with churning out think pieces on R&B divas or swagged-out rappers and concentrating more on fiction, ranging from semi-autobiographical to romance to crime noir. His latest, the recently released The Lost Treasures of R&B (Akashic Books), is the newest volume to feature D Hunter, a tormented, HIV-positive bodyguard-investigator who comes back to live in a Brooklyn he hardly recognizes and tries to solve a few mysteries, mainly the whereabouts of a rare 45 featuring Otis Redding and Diana Ross on vocals. Now 57, the born-and-based Brooklynite talked to Vulture about his new book and the fun he had bringing his love for soul and fiction together.


  • Posted 2/24/15 at 8:00 AM
  • Books

Did Amazon Sink the Queen of Online Erotica?

Jaid Black, the “queen of steam,” isn’t feeling well, so she’s dispatched Christian, a muscular, handsome 40-something, to greet me at the front door of her West Hollywood home. It’s tempting to refer to Christian as a manservant, because a beefcake butler whose modeling bio boasts of a knack for finding G-spots would fit tidily into this story (and he does ask if we need anything), but in fact, he’s an aspiring actor and personal trainer to A-list talent agent Kevin Huvane. He’s also a friend of Black’s who’s willing to fetch the chocolate-caramel creamer for her coffee. 

“I was like, Either I’m a sexual deviant, which is always a possibility, or they’re wrong. Turned out they were wrong.” »

  • Posted 2/20/15 at 1:57 PM
  • Books

There’s a New Sherlock Holmes Story by Arthur Conan Doyle, and You Can Read It Right Here

We've officially got a trend: After Harper Lee and Dr. Seuss, Arthur Conan Doyle is the third author this month whose lost work has been rediscovered and reintroduced to the world. In Doyle's case, the forgotten work is a short Sherlock Holmes story from 1904, written as part of a fund-raising campaign for a new bridge in the Scottish town of Selkirk. "Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, By Deduction, the Brig Bazaar" was published in a one-off book called The Book o' the Brig, a copy of which was recently found by historian Walter Elliot. (He'd had it for 50 years but forgot about it.) And since Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, we've published the very meta tale below. 


  • Posted 2/18/15 at 2:39 PM

The Best of Haruki Murakami’s Advice Column

Celebrated novelist Haruki Murakami is a master of the heartbreaking and the surreal. So who better to start an online advice column? In January, the Japanese author began soliciting and responding to reader-submitted questions. Murakami's website is in Japanese, but we translated some of the best back-and-forths. It's weird — and weirdly charming — stuff. 


  • Posted 2/17/15 at 1:22 PM

Book Excerpt: Robert Christgau Remembers the Deaths of Lennon, Marley, and Lester Bangs

In the late 1960s, Robert Christgau helped invent rock criticism. Ever since, he's been among the country's best and most influential arts journalists. In his memoir, Going Into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man, Christgau, a native New Yorker, traces both his own (and pop's) intellectual and emotional development and paints a loving portrait of the city he loves. It's a deeply smart, charmingly gregarious read. This excerpt finds Christgau reflecting on some pivotal moments for himself and the music he loves: the deaths of John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Lester Bangs. 


  • Posted 2/17/15 at 11:04 AM

My Wild Oscar-Party Night With Courtney Love and Jessica Lange

From his early days as a struggling actor, through his drug-addled years working for Andy Warhol at Interview and Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, and on to a mind-bending journey to the top of Kilimanjaro, Kevin Sessums has led an intensely colorful life — and just barely lived to write about it. His memoir, I Left It on the Mountain, is full of glitzy, debauched yarns, including the one excerpted here, about a very strange night with Courtney Love and Jessica Lange at the 1995 Vanity Fair Oscar party. 


Richard Price on His New Novel, The Whites, and Using a ‘Transparent’ Pseudonym

Richard Price has gone through a lot of life changes over the last ten years and come out pretty much the same. He got divorced, sold his family’s art-filled Gramercy Park townhouse  —and then, in 2008, married the writer Lorraine Adams at a ceremony in his new home, a five-story Harlem brownstone restored to its Victorian bones and stocked with photos by Weegee, the seedy street-life touchstone of his later fiction. After publishing his last and maybe most ambitious literary procedural, Lush Life, a thin-sliced vivisection of the Lower East Side, he decided to focus even more intensely on his novels, and less on the increasingly tedious, decreasingly lucrative sideline of screenwriting. Yet his adaptation of the novel Child 44 will hit theaters in April, and he’s writing a script for Scott Rudin from his latest novel, The Whites. So much for change.


5 Reasons Why Fifty Shades of Grey the Movie Is Better Than the Book

The overall consensus on Fifty Shades of Grey when it first appeared on bookshelves was that it wasn’t a great book. A sexy book? Sure. But not great. Sexiness alone, however (along with some pervasive nationwide BDSM curiosity), was enough to place it in a top-selling slot for what seemed like forever — and more important, perhaps, get author E.L. James a movie deal. Now we're left with this question: Could the movie possibly be better than the book? Well, yeah. Movies often aren’t deemed “better” than the beloved books they adapt, but with director Sam Taylor-Johnson at the helm and really nowhere to go but up, we assumed that the film would improve quite a bit on the pages. Turns out we were correct. Here’s exactly how.


Jonathan Franzen Hasn’t Read Jennifer Weiner, But He Has a Lot of Opinions About Her

Jonathan Franzen has always been a guy with a lot of dislikes, particularly when it comes to the internet, technology, and Jennifer Weiner. In a new Q&A with Butler University's journal Booth, Franzen's still got it.


  • Posted 2/13/15 at 12:50 PM

See Rare Behind-the-Scenes SNL Photos

There's no shortage of commemorative Saturday Night Live 40th-anniversary activity going on, but even so, Taschen's lavish new book Saturday Night Live, the Book stands out. 


Tom McCarthy Goes to TED

Whatever you make of Tom McCarthy’s mind-bending metafictions, the author one critic anointed “a young and British Thomas Pynchon” (and another called the U.K.’s “most galling interviewee”) has undeniably paid his dues. His first published novel, Remainder, about the survivor of a mysterious accident who restages life events on a grandiose scale, was rejected by every major British house before an art publisher printed 750 copies. Then Vintage in the U.S. picked it up as a paperback and, six years after he wrote it, the book was a critical hit. McCarthy had an easier time with C, a fairly sprawling Pynchon homage he calls “a fake historical novel,” which was a finalist for the Man Booker prize.

Those books and a third, Men in Space (a rewrite of a long-rejected novel), established McCarthy as a plausible heir to the near-moribund tradition of the readable avant-garde, last seen in the work of the late David Foster Wallace. It helped that he knew how and when to take the piss out of the postmodernists who influenced him (e.g., he’s a founding member of a “semi-fictitious” arts collective known as the International Necronautical Society).

His slim fourth novel, Satin Island, out next Tuesday, expands thoughtfully and amusingly on the themes in Remainder. The first-person struggles of U., an anthropologist producing corporate theory for a consulting company trafficking in TED-talk snake oil, are darkly funny, scarily real, and shot through with abstract digressions as magnetic as early DeLillo. And for the record, McCarthy is a perfectly pleasant interviewee.


How Wes Anderson Cast The Grand Budapest Hotel

In stores today is New York TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz's handsome new book, The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, published by Abrams, the follow-up to last year's similarly sumptuous The Wes Anderson Collection, which dives deeply into the making of Anderson's new Best Picture–nominated film, dissecting every angle and influence with commentary, illustrations, and photography (watch the book's delightful trailer here). Below, an excerpt of a conversation with Anderson on how and why he chose the actors in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Willem and Tilda aren’t really just actors. They’re more performance artists. »

Is the 33-Year Wait for a New Kurt Vonnegut Documentary Coming to an End?

In 1982, the 23-year-old documentary filmmaker Robert Weide wrote his idol, Kurt Vonnegut, a fan letter with an ulterior motive: He wanted the Slaughterhouse Five author and perennial fanboy favorite to be his next subject. To his surprise, Vonnegut wrote back. He had seen Weide’s first doc, about the Marx Brothers, and he consented. They met to discuss Weide’s plan, which was to lock in financing quickly and finish the movie within a year.


Romance Gone Awry: Two Bad Breakups and One Ugly Accusation at Nicholas Sparks’s Christian Prep School

A Nicholas Sparks novel always features a decent, loyal leading man who works hard and knows how to throw a punch. He has just one vulnerability: a high-spirited, oftentimes blonde woman. One look and love strikes. Not the complicated push-pull version: Romance is sudden, unconflicted, and, after that first kiss, unbreakable. There are barriers, of course—class differences, secret pasts—but “love isn’t always easy,” Sparks tells fans. “Fight for it.” In his novels, which have sold nearly 100 million copies, the lovers always do. 

“I’ve never experienced so much vitriol about my heritage or my faith in people’s ability to learn,” said Sparks’s accuser. »

Harper Lee’s Lawyer Responds to Go Set a Watchman Speculation

In her first extensive interview since Harper Lee's second novel came to light, the author's lawyer, Tonja Carter, refuted claims that Lee has been taken advantage of and told the New York Times how she found the manuscript. "[Lee] is a very strong, independent, and wise woman who should be enjoying the discovery of her long lost novel," Carter said. "Instead, she is having to defend her own credibility and decision making."


  • Posted 2/6/15 at 1:15 AM
  • Books

Harper Lee Is Just ‘Happy As Hell’ About Go Set a Watchman

After questions about Harper Lee's willingness to publish a second book muddied this week's news of a To Kill a Mockingbird follow-up, the 88-year-old issued a riposte, saying, "I'm alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to [Go Set a] Watchman." According to the New York Times, the statement comes via Harper's lawyer, Tonja Carter, who visited the author at an assisted-living facility in Monroeville, Alabama, on Wednesday. Carter, who has avoided discussing the matter with the media, passed the remarks along to Harper's international literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg. 

Some in Lee's hometown are still surprised to see the book headed for publication. »


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