Alda Opens New Lines of Communication at Random House

Actor and author Alan Alda has recorded his latest book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, for Random House Audio. The title details his personal mission to understand how communication works and how he learned to use his acting experience to become a better communicator and to show others how they can improve their own communication skills. Alda credits his 1993–2005 gig as host of the PBS program Scientific American Frontiers with sparking his fascination for how people communicate with each other. The theme of communication has played such a strong role in Alda’s life that in 2009 he founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York. In If I Understood You, which goes on sale June 6, Alda shares examples of some miscommunications he’s experienced and emphasizes that engaged listening and empathy are the keys to improving how we talk with people.

Harper Finds Leonard and ‘Gobi’

When ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard competed in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China in July 2016, he found himself teamed up with an unusual partner: a diminutive stray dog who kept pace with him on rugged terrain for nearly 80 miles. Leonard named the pup Gobi, naturally. This man-and-dog story became even bigger when Gobi went missing before Leonard could take her home to Scotland, and strangers instigated a viral internet campaign that resulted in Leonard and Gobi reuniting and returning to the U.K.

Literary agent Paul de Souza was so taken by the feel-good tale he brought it to W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, which will publish the print version of Leonard’s account, entitled Finding Gobi, on June 17, a simultaneous release with the HarperAudio edition. According to a report in Variety, de Souza’s choice of publisher was inspired by his desire to set Finding Gobi up as a movie project at Fox, as the partner companies experienced great success with the book and film versions of Hidden Figures. In March, 20th Century Fox announced it had preemptively acquired film rights to Finding Gobi,which is now in development with de Souza as producer. Audie-winning narrator Simon Bubb reads the audiobook for Harper.

In Tune with Powers’s ‘Spree of ’83’ at Blackstone

The late Freddy Powers, a musician, producer, and songwriter known for his collaborations with such country music legends as Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Willie Nelson, had been working on his memoir, The Spree of ’83, with his wife Catherine and music biographer Jake Brown when he died of Parkinson’s disease in June 2016. In the book, Powers recounts anecdotes from his expansive and successful music career and shares insight on his long battle with Parkinson’s. Interviews with performers Nelson, Haggard, and other Nashville notables are included in the book, and for the audio edition, Blackstone Audio has assembled an ensemble cast led by Tanya Tucker, who also contributes a foreword. The Spree of ’83 goes on sale July 1.

Poundstone’s ‘Search for Human Happiness’ to HighBridge

On a quest to discover whether there is a secret to happiness, comedian and regular panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! Paula Poundstone puts herself at the center of several “thoroughly scientific” experiments in her audiobook The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. She shares self-assessments after such pursuits as camping with her daughter and trying to get in shape by learning tae kwon do. Along the way, listeners are treated to Poundstone’s well-crafted humor, as well as poignant moments and revelations from her life as a performer and a working single mom. The recording and the e-book edition will be simultaneously released on May 9.

Hachette Finds Sedaris’s Dear Diary

Fans of humorist David Sedaris well know that he typically reads entries from his detailed and long-running diary at his live events. With his latest work, Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977–2002, he collects a variety of his favorite entries from his young adulthood and early career as a struggling writer and teacher into what is the first of an expected two volumes. Sedaris recently recorded the selections—which include sharp observations, gossip, anecdotes, poignant exchanges, and odd and funny incidents from his day-to-day life—for Hachette Audio. The Hachette print, e-book, and audio editions all become available May 30.

Tantor Scores with ‘Unscripted’

Sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr., who has won three Sports Emmys and several humanitarian awards for his work, is widely known as host of TNT’s Inside the NBA and other NBA and NCAA basketball coverage, as well as being lead Major League Baseball play-by-play announcer for Turner. He recently stepped up to the mike for Tantor Audio to record his memoir Unscripted. In addition to the successes in his on-air career, Johnson shares rewarding moments and lessons learned from his private moments as son of a sportscaster, cancer survivor, husband, and father to six children, including a special needs child he and his wife adopted from Romania. The audiobook and e-book editions of Unscripted went on sale May 2.