Money Money Money
Bob Woodward takes on the recent budget crisis
By Jessamine Chan
Like all 16 of his previous books, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and 41-year Washington Post veteran Bob Woodward’s latest is a national bestseller. Debuting at #2 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list, with sales of 29,876 copies last week at BookScan-tracked outlets, The Price of Politics takes readers from early 2009 to summer 2012 as President Obama and Congress battle over strategies to revitalize the economy and address the troubling state of the government’s debt, which veered toward default (and potential financial collapse) in 2011. Woodward spent 18 months interviewing Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and others, and takes readers ringside to key meetings, strategy sessions, and phone calls. The book traces the rocky relationship between Obama and Boehner, critical of both, and shows Democrats and Republicans unsurprisingly accusing each other of poor management. To promote the book, Woodward’s first interview will be with Diane Sawyer on ABC’s World News Tonight and Nightline, and George Stephanopoulos will interview him live on Good Morning America. Woodward’s media blitz also includes appearances on NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS This Morning, PBS’s Charlie Rose, Fox News Channel’s Hannity, NPR’s Marketplace, and book excerpts in the Washington Post. On Sept. 21, the National Press Club honored Woodward with the Fourth Estate award for a lifetime of journalistic excellence. In addition to stops in Washington, D.C., and New York City, Woodward’s lecture tour will take him to colleges including St. Olaf College, Colby College, and the University of Virginia. Woodward’s 2010 title, Obama’s Wars, has sold 185,302 hardcover copies to date, and he can expect those numbers to grow. His 2002 title, Bush at War, has sold 512,556 copies hardcover and 73,364 copies in paperback, while 2006’s Bush at War: State of Denial has sold 528,110 copies hardcover, 15,725 paperback. Clearly, readers are hungry for Woodward’s take on politics, war, and now, the puzzle of the federal budget.
Keeping Time with Mitch
Father Time has been kind to Mitch Albom—the bestselling author’s new fabulist novel, The Time Keeper, released on Sept. 4, is already sitting pretty at #2 on the Hardcover Fiction list, and his publicist, SallyAnne McCartin, reports that fans lucky enough to score a free copy of the book via social media giveaways “have finished within hours” and are already “sharing personal stories about how the book has touched and changed their lives.” Albom, however, has not been as kind to Father Time. In his newest, a man named Dor begins to track the passing of the days, only to be banished to a cave where he must bear witness to millennia of humanity begging “for more minutes, more hours, more years, more time.”
Finally, after a torturous 6,000 years, God releases Dor into the modern world and tasks him with teaching two errant individuals the true worth of a precious moment. But the man they meet isn’t the stooped, haggard greybeard folks typically picture when they imagine Father Time: in Albom’s hands, he hasn’t aged a bit since he was cast into exile.
Such a twist augurs well for a possible feature film. McCartin says there are “no specific plans yet,” but given that four of Albom’s books have been turned into TV movies, there’s a good chance The Time Keeper will make it to the silver screen; she also let on that Albom has “teased that someone like Hugh Jackman” would make a great Dor—the two became friends while Jackman was in Detroit (where the author and his family live) filming 2011’s Real Steel.
Though a series of “lectures, signings, and media appearances” have been scheduled to promote the novel, McCartin revealed that Albom is “always looking for book ideas,” and when one finds purchase, he immediately retreats to his own “cave” to write, and he “won’t even shave until he’s done.” Catch him while you can. —Samuel R. Slaton
The World According To Yunior
Junot Díaz appears on the Hardcover Fiction list this week at #9 with This Is How You Lose Her, but considering the attention the author’s been getting, it feels like the book’s been out there forever. There’s not a magazine, newspaper, or radio show worth a mention that hasn’t feted the Dominican-American writer, including PW with a starred review (“searing… hilarious”) and an early profile that we can now reveal was conducted with Díaz standing up because of a bad back. By now, everyone should know that the main character in this collection of linked stories is Yunior, a committed womanizer who gets his due in the last entry, “The Cheater’s Guide to Love,” and although Díaz has said this book is not autobiographical (although “deeply personal”), which he has also said about his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Yunior does have some back problems. We can expect that Díaz’s latest will climb the list rapidly. Díaz arrived on the literary scene with a collection, Drown, in 1996 and disappeared for 10 years until Wao in 2007. Now five years later, he’s again created a sensation. T.S. Eliot once filled a football stadium for a lecture, but Díaz is right up there: his recent reading at Barnes & Nobles in NYC’s Union Square attracted 1,000 fans with our “woman-in-the street” reporting that when over 500 of them were turned away, the NYPD were called in to quell the uproar. —Louisa Ermelino
Lee Child Reaches the Heights with Latest
A Jack Reacher film is coming in December
A Wanted Man, Lee Child’s 17th thriller to feature ex–military policeman Jack Reacher, debuts at #1 on the Hardcover Fiction list. The PW review noted that this installment takes Reacher, who’s hitchhiking through America’s heartland, “on a wild road ride that builds to a terrific slam-bang climax.”
Paramount Pictures will release the first Reacher film, an adaptation of One Shot, the ninth in the Reacher series, under the title Jack Reacher in December, with Tom Cruise in the title role. Some fans were unhappy with the change of title, while others were concerned that the 5’ 8” Cruise was not the right actor to play the 6’ 5” Reacher. To the latter criticism, Child (who’s also exceptionally tall) replied: “With another actor, you might get 100% of the height but only 90% of Reacher. With Tom, you’ll get 100% of Reacher with 90% of the height.” À la Alfred Hitchcock, Child makes a cameo appearance in the film as an NYPD desk sergeant.
Child, a native of England and former television director who has lived for years in New York City, made his debut with Killing Floor, which won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery. The Enemy, the eighth in the series, won both the Barry and Nero awards for Best Novel. Foreign rights in the Reacher series have sold in more than 40 territories. —Peter Cannon
When a Store Loves a Book
Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue debuts this week at #7 on the Fiction Hardcover list. The book was released on Sept. 11, and for that entire week, HarperCollins transformed Oakland’s independent Diesel Books into Brokeland Records, the independent record store at the heart of Chabon’s new novel about community, race, and transformation. On Sept. 12, Chabon kicked off his U.S. reading tour with an event at the store that drew a crowd of 300 and brought the community together. Evans’s partner in Diesel, Alison Reid, based the store’s temporary facade on the now-closed Berigan’s Record Shop, the inspiration for Chabon’s Brokeland. Berigan’s former owner, Berigan Taylor, provided 1,000 records, available for purchase. The bin to hold them came from Amy Thomas, owner of Berkeley’s Pegasus Books. A local bakery, Sweet Adeline, made a cake sheet in the shape of a turntable, and cakes that looked like stacks of 45s. And Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery provided beer. A portable 8-track player from Chabon’s personal collection was raffled off, with proceeds benefiting Dave Eggers’s Bay Area charity 826 (Eggers introduced Chabon at the reading), along with an 8-track mix tape that Chabon made of funk, soul, and jazz. “Not only was it surreal to have a fictional store based on a real record store that had once been in the area,” says Evans, “but in the reality-imitating-art-imitating-reality way, the bookstore became what the book is about.”—Mike Harkvey