Rabia Chaudry*, the lawyer who set in motion the events that led to "Serial," is writing a book about Adnan Syed's case, EW reports. Chaudry, a family friend of Syed, was instrumental in setting him up with "Serial" host Sarah Koenig, who would devote the first season of the podcast to examining Syed's conviction in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Since "Serial" debuted, Chaudry has been one of Syed's most vocal advocates. She currently hosts the podcast "Undisclosed," which offers a sympathetic look at his case; her book, Adnan's Story, will follow in this vein, covering Adnan's initial conviction, his life in prison since then, and his recent legal victories. (Syed is cooperating with the project from prison.) Adnan's Story will be released next September, near the two-year anniversary of the "Serial" debut.
Amid tensions involving the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin kicked off his weekend with a concise blog post in which he waxed political and unpacked his welcoming stance. The writer cited words from Emma Lazarus's "New Colossus" poem, which appears on the Statue of Liberty's base, and said that those opposing the refugees don't understand that for which America stands. "The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France," he wrote, referencing the devastating attacks from earlier this month. "Let them in. Santa Fe, at least, will welcome them." Martin proceeded to call out governors, along with Donald Trump, in his frustrated plea to recognize the U.S. as an immigrant nation.
If you're interested in what David Yates's first forthcoming Harry Potter prequel will be like tonally, a producer on the project has answers. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has "the charm of the fourth," David Heyman told EW on Thursday. Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell "talked about the fourth as being like an Indian musical — and it's not that, but it's got the humor of that film. It has the romantic comedy, that fish-out-of-water humor, that very human, natural character comedy. And now [Yates] is always looking for truthful, human moments. It's never just a gag — he's grounding [the storytelling moments] in a reality."
Charlie Sheen and his agent are currently shopping a memoir, ET reports. The tell-all book will reportedly cover Sheen's three decades onscreen and in the public eye, including his disclosure this week that he is HIV-positive. Sheen's book will also likely discuss his headline-making behavior of 2011, as well as his relationships with Denise Richards, Brooke Mueller, and Bree Olsen, though keeping with the tradition of pop-culture biographies, it will probably skip over his history of domestic violence.
AP English teachers and normal Kurt Vonnegut fans can continue to get pumped: Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley has signed onto and pushed the Cat's Cradle TV project that FX and IM Global are producing further into development, according to reports. Hawley will write and EP for the adaptation, which will be based on Vonnegut's satirical novel of the same name. Brad Yonover and Elkins Entertainment's Sandi Love will also co-EP, THR notes. Still no word on a hard timeline or onscreen personnel info for the project — but hey, ice-nine, Bokononism, and San Lorenzo weren't all built in a day, so this is a good start.
The National Book Foundation announced this year’s National Book Awards Wednesday night, which means that MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates, who took home the award for nonfiction with Between the World and Me, can add another line to his already lengthy resume. The fiction category, meanwhile, experienced a bit of an upset, as Adam Johnson’s story collection Fortune Smiles took first place over more buzzy contenders, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. Read the full list of finalists and winners (bolded) below. And congrats to all!
Frank Rich on Patricia Highsmith’s Carol and the Enduring Invisibility of Lesbian Culture in AmericaBy Frank Rich
In early December 1948, Patricia Highsmith took a Christmas-season temp job as a shopgirl in the children’s toy department at Bloomingdale’s. Highsmith, a 27-year-old native of Fort Worth, Texas, and a 1942 Barnard graduate, was a budding novelist who had been supporting herself for five years as a freelance action-comic-book writer, concocting stories for lesser superheroes like Spy Smasher and Black Terror — a rare gig for a woman in the golden age of comics. But her average weekly income of $55 no longer sufficed now that she had started shelling out $30 a week for psychoanalysis. Highsmith had sought a shrink’s help to deal with her qualms about her pending marriage to a British novelist named Marc Brandel. Up until then, her prolific love life had been defined by a string of affairs with women.
Emma Stone will star in Columbia TriStar's film adaptation of Love May Fail, according to Deadline and Variety. The novel is one of the more recent releases of Silver Linings Playbook author, Matthew Quick. As the book does, the film will revolve around an underappreciated housewife (Stone) who escapes her cheating husband, returns to her childhood home in South Jersey, re-seeks human decency, and attempts to save herself, as well as the legacy of a former, scandal-plagued teacher of hers. If that dynamic kind of gives you flashbacks to Irrational Man, fear not — elevators should play a much lesser role in this project, which has been scripted by Mike White and is now in need of a director.
Matthew McConaughey Is Looking at the Villain Role in the Movie Adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark TowerBy Sean Fitz-Gerald
The Wrap reports Matthew McConaughey is looking at two deals tied to Sony's on-again adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Initially, the actor was thinking about the gunslinging Roland Deschain part, but now he's apparently leaning toward that character's nemesis, the very bad, very prolific Man in Black (not this kind) who has a lot of other aliases. As the Wrap notes, this would be the actor's first role in a major big-screen saga — one also set to have season-long TV installments running in between.
Rainn Wilson, the man responsible for Dwight Schrute (and likely many of your favorite quotes), spent part of his Sunday promoting his new memoir, The Bassoon King, via Reddit. Out now, the book involves Wilson's rise from struggling New York nobody to success, and details "big ideas about faith and God and life and failure" — plus, he stresses, it has tons of pictures! As is tradition in his AMA sessions, the actor dished on a wide range of topics, which this round included the content of Bassoon King, more Office trivia, the upcoming presidential election, and the Bahá’í faith he grew up in, among other things. Read on for the highlights:
Patti Smith’s Horses, which turned 40 this week, is such a perfectly formed rock-and-roll artifact that it’s difficult to imagine that Patti didn’t just wake up like that, walk into Electric Lady Studios, and birth one of the most seminal records in music history. The reality is that it took her several years of exploration and experimentation before she reached that point. Patti wasn’t afraid to try something to see if it fit, or even just to do something for the hell of it. So she read her poetry as an opening act for glam rock bands; tried her hand as a cabaret act, wearing a satin halter top and a feather boa; worked as a rock critic for CREEM and other publications; acted in Off–Off Broadway plays and co-wrote one herself; joined a Parisian troupe of street performers. She wanted to try out different forms of art and performance, and she did so fearlessly, realizing that finding out what she didn’t like was almost as important as finding out what she did. Here’s a rundown of her sundry pursuits on the road to her crucial debut.
In Mary-Louise Parker’s first book, Dear Mr. You, boys are definitely not on the side, to paraphrase the title of one of her best-known movies. In fact, boys — well, men, really — are front and center in this lapidary, memoir-ish book, in which the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress has written letters to 33 men who have made an impact on her life. There are letters to friends, lovers (good and bad), family members (especially her late father), inspirations (a Yaqui tribal dancer, a latter-day hippie), strangers (a fireman in the aftermath of 9/11, an oyster picker), and professionals (her accountant, the doctor who saved her life, a delivery-room orderly), all of whom she looks upon with gratitude.
New York: Capital of the 20th Century by Kenneth Goldsmith
“Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion.”
Goldsmith is a conceptual poet who does uncreative writing — massive blocks of found text placed in massive quotes — and his new book is billed as his version of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, with New York standing in for Paris in a collage of other people’s words. I can’t decide whether kicking it off with the opening lines of Manhattan is either a crowd pleaser, or all too familiar. Like his recent recitation of the autopsy of Michael Brown — though for different reasons — leading with Woody Allen won’t win him any new fans on Twitter.
Mitchell Kriegman has revitalized his character Clarissa Darling from the 1991 Nickelodeon sitcom Clarissa Explains It All in his new novel, Things I Can't Explain. Clarissa is in her 20s, living in New York, and not such a know-it-all. But wait! If the book is released in 2015, doesn't that mean Clarissa should be — counts on fingers and toes — 38? "I don't give a shit about math," Kriegman tells Indiewire. "If you did her in her thirties, that's a big jump, it would be crazy. Melissa [Joan Hart] was about 17 and the character was about 16 or 17, so you want to see her in her twenties next. You don't want to skip her twenties." In his world, Clarissa is an aspiring journalist with, yes, a sex life. Does that remind you of anyone? "She lives in a Lena Dunham world," he said. "She's not Lena Dunham — [but] there's a little Lena Dunham homage in there somewhere because I know Lena loved Clarissa."
New 13 Hours Teaser: Watch More Explosive, Robotless Clips From Michael Bay’s Fiery Benghazi Project, As You’re Introduced to the Real-Life SoldiersBy Sean Fitz-Gerald
In an alternate dimension with no Pam, Jim Halpert and Roy Anderson have grown epic beards and decided that nobody should mess with them. (Actually, there are a lot of beards in here. How many can you count?) That's kind of how this trailer goes — plus some cryptic teasers ("When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right"), and the wonderfully explosive montages of Michael Bay doing his thing sans robots. The film, based on Mitchell Zuckoff's Thirteen Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, is already generating politically charged articles, as well as comparisons to American Sniper (wow, that was fast!). Timing-wise, it makes sense: The film is slated for the same release window as Sniper, and it'll come as a Benghazi reminder right as the 2016 election kicks into gear. As with the book, Bay's 13 Hours will retell the true story of how six "secret soldiers" responded to the infamous attack on a Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of 9/11; it comes out January 15.
Actress, singer, philanthropist, and food-stamp queen Gwyneth Paltrow is taking her Goop empire to the next level and launching her own publishing imprint. EW reports that Goop Press will become its own imprint with Grand Central Publishing publishing one Goop-branded book a year, along with three others "sourced" from Goop editors and contributors. Unsurprisingly, Goop Press's first release will be about cooking by Paltrow herself, It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook. It's unclear whether this cookbook will have sensitivities to gluten, dairy, chicken's eggs, and an aversion to eggplant.
It’s been a banner fall for music memoirs: Carrie Brownstein, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Grace Jones, John Fogerty, Jewel, Sara Bareilles, and Elvis Costello have already released books, while there’s still a soul-baring Tom Petty biography due out imminently. The broad appeal of these memoirs is obvious: Artists are inherently fascinating already because of their music — and because us plebeians are nosy, we want to know everything about their personal lives. However, the prurient need to dig into salacious gossip, band drama, and drug-and-sex-fueled debauchery isn’t relegated exclusively to those who’ve never experienced the rock-and-roll lifestyle. If anything, other musicians are the best judges of what makes a great music memoir or biography, since they can actually call bullshit. In fact, we figured they’d be the perfect group to help us curate a list of excellent music memoirs for your Kindle queue or nightstand stack. Some folks are authors themselves, while many others would likely write great memoirs themselves one day, but we see a few top contenders emerge between both camps: Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Dylan’s Chronicles, and Keith Richards’s Life are repeat favorites.
Kim Kardashian Is Going to Publish a Holiday Edition of Selfish, Because the Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself Is MoneyBy E. Alex Jung
Were you just thinking you needed some Kardashian-themed stocking stuffers this holiday season? Entrepreneur Kim Kardashian-West is always one step ahead of you. In an interview with Vogue's Andre Leon Talley, she discussed the success of her mobile game, how she doesn't like Thanksgiving food (gasp!), and the new edition of her selfie book, Selfish. "Now I absolutely think your selfie book was wonderful," said Talley, no doubt while wearing a grand cape. "Will there be another book coming up soon? Another inspiration?" "I'm going to do a holiday edition with just a new picture on the cover," Kim replied. "There might be a few more photos inside. But for a whole different book, I ... I don't have anything in the works right now." "Oh, that's great!" he oozed. "A holiday edition, that's great. That's fabulous." "Yeah, I'm excited," she said.
Rock stars have been writing autobiographies for years — Ian Hunter published his classic, Diary of a Rock n Roll Star, way back in 1974, at Mott the Hoople's height — but ever since 2010, when Keith Richards's Life turned into an unexpected blockbuster and Patti Smith's Just Kids took home the National Book Award, a steady stream of pop memoirs has turned into a deluge practically every season. This fall saw the release of a weighty homage to influence from Elvis Costello, a precise volume from Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein, a meditative sequel to Smith's award-winner, and tell-alls from John Fogerty, Chrissie Hynde, and Grace Jones. Apart from Smith, who chronicles her life more recently, each of these authors offers some version of an origin story alongside bold, headline-grabbing tales (Hynde and Jones lead the pack there) and anecdotes that, while not as shocking, should be of interest to fans. We spent the season so far binge-reading these six, highlighting the most fascinating tidbits along the way.
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