Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Biography Beat, April 2009

Here is another roundup of biography news.

Biographies of Authors Dominate Recent New York Times Book Review Podcasts

The producers of the New York Times Book Review Podcasts with Sam Tanenhaus have repeated chosen to interview biographers with new books about American authors to lead their programs lately. In the past month, the podcast has featured Donald Barthelme, Flannery O'Connor, and John Cheever biographies. These fifteen minute podcasts can be found on the New York Times website or at the Apple Store.

The University Press of Mississippi Features Country Singers in Its American Made Music Series

In May, the University Press of Mississippi is publishing Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound by Michael Streissguth. Arnold was the top-selling country performer of the 1940s and 1950s, but his career faded with the emergence of rock-and-roll in the 1960s. Streissguth has also written books about Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash.

The new title joins Hank Williams, So Lonesome by Bill Koon and Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler by Nolan Porterfield in the publishers American Made Music Series. While the appeal of these books may be limited nationally, they will be appreciated by older audiences in regions where country music is popular.

Midwest Memoirs Hot at Thomas Ford

During the month of March, we featured memoirs from Midwestern authors in one of our display bins at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library. They went out well, and we had to keep restocking. Here are some of the titles we displayed:

  • Dewey by Vicki Myron
  • Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
  • Man Killed by Pheasant by John Price
  • Population 485 by Michael Perry
  • Truck by Michael Perry*
  • Summer of Ordinary Ways by Nicole Lea Helgut
  • Books and Islands in Objiwe Country by Louise Erdrich
  • Barefoot Heart by Elva Trevino Hart

*Michael Perry has a new book coming out in May! Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting. ISBN 9780061240430. We could have used it for the display.

Comic Book Biographies of American Women

On March 11, Bluewater Productions issued two comic book biographies that sold better than expected, according to its publisher Darren G. Davis. The subjects were women from opposite ends of the political spectrum - Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. The 32-page graphic novels selling for $3.99 are the first titles in the publisher's Female Force series. Michelle Obama and Caroline Kennedy are soon to come.

Manga Biographies

Here is a similar story about more illustrated biographies for grade school readers. A Korean publisher named Dasan Books is releasing The Obama Story: The Boy with the Biggest Dreams in April as the first of fifty manga-style biographies aimed at eight to twelve year old readers. Publishers Weekly has the story.

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