The former Iraq war proponent announced Tuesday that she is writing a book. As yet untitled, the book, to be published by Henry Holt sometime in 2015, will be “an examination of democracy at home and abroad.”
“My travels both at home and abroad have underscored the promise and the challenges of democracy,” Rice said in a news release issued by Henry Holt. “The task of building it is never done. I look forward to further exploring these ideals and working with Holt to convey those messages.”
The book will include stories from Rice’s life and career and explore the challenges of governance, including “essential questions of contemporary democracy, including the centrality of education, immigration, free enterprise, and civic responsibility,” according to the publisher. “She will also address American’s destiny as a beacon for global freedom."
The announcement of Rice’s new book doesn’t just come ten years after the onset of the Iraq war. As many political hounds have pointed out, it comes four years before the next presidential election. More importantly, it’s set to be released in 2015, a year before the 2016 presidential election.
You know what that means. Rumors are already building that Rice may run in 2016, with her forthcoming book as her ticket back on the national stage. (Those rumors only intensified after a particularly strong speech at the Republican National Convention last summer.) She was repeatedly mentioned as a likely candidate in 2012, only to become a key supporter for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Does this book mean Condi’s running in 2016? Of course, it’s a little too soon to tell, and the former secretary of state has repeatedly said she’s not interested. Nonetheless, it does open the door for speculation.
Now, of course, this isn’t the first book Rice has penned. The former secretary of state has written three books, all memoirs, including her most recent, the 700-page “No Higher Honor,” about her time as Bush’s foreign policy adviser. In it, Rice defended the Iraq war and outlined tensions in the Bush White House in the lead-up to and following the conflict.
This latest book project might be an attempt to move the conversation, and the nation’s memory of Rice’s participation in the Bush administration, forward from the unpopular war to democracy-building. And it might just be a pitch for future office.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.
A study published on Wednesday in Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE discussed the results of a project in which British researchers searched five million digitized books provided by Google – about 4% of all books published since 1900 – to analyze the use of emotional language in books.
The surprising conclusion they reached: There has been a marked decrease in the use of emotional words that fall in six categories (anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise), with the exception of an uptick in fear since the 1970's.
Within that downward trend the researchers found that American authors use more emotional language than British authors.
The six categories had been used in an earlier study to analyze the public mood through U.K. Twitter accounts. That study showed that the frequency of mood-word usage on Twitter corresponded to real-life events like natural disasters.
This more recent study found evidence that mood-word usage seemed to respond to significant historical events as well. For example, words that correspond to sadness increased during the 1940's and throughout World War II. (On the other hand, World War I didn't seem to register)
According to this new study, there has been a definite split between British and American authors and their use of emotional language since the 1960's. Americans use more mood-words than the British, although both groups use fewer than they have historically.
The researchers say that they don't know exactly what happened in the 1960's, but that decade marks the period of a definite separation, both stylistically and emotionally, between British and American English.
“This relative increase [with respect to British usage] of American mood word use roughly coincides with the increase of anti-social and narcissistic sentiments in U.S. popular song lyrics from 1980 to 2007, as evidenced by steady increases in angry/antisocial lyrics and in the percentage of first-person singular pronouns (e.g., I, me, mine), with a corresponding decrease in words indicating social interactions (e.g., mate, talk, child) over the same 27-year period,” says the study. Information about changes in US song lyrics comes from a previous study done in 2011.
“We interpret this as a genuine decrease in the literary expression of emotion, but an alternative explanation could be that mood words have changed, rather than decreased in usage, through the century," explains the study. However, researchers said essentially, because the mood-words they used were more modern, they would have expected the data to skew towards an increase, which it didn't.
"While it is easy to conclude that Americans have themselves become more ‘emotional’ over the past several decades, perhaps songs and books may not reflect the real population any more than catwalk models reflect the average body."
As we've reported before, more and more scientists are using the tools and databases available to them to conduct massive studies of data, including studies of works of literature.
The British study concluded by praising the merits of big data analysis, and calling for more massive in-depth studies of sites like Twitter, Google, or blogs to study cultural evolution.
Those who are curious about the new pope will get an opportunity to learn more about him via his own words: Pope Francis’s book “On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family and the Church in the 21st Century” will be released in English for the first time this May.
“On Heaven and Earth” was first released in 2010 in Spanish when the now-pope wrote it as a series of talks with the rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who is the book’s co-author. The two discussed issues like abortion, globalization, gay marriage, and atheists. The book is one of 11 that the new pope has written.
The book will be published by Image Books, an imprint of Random House, on May 7, and “On Heaven and Earth” will also be released by Vintage Espanol, also part of Random House, in Spanish in North America.
The pope was elected March 13 and is the 266th to serve in the position.
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert says she and her publisher were arguing over what cover to use for her new novel for months.
The solution they settled on? Let the masses decide.
“I was going to be a diva and throw my weight around,” Gilbert told USA Today. But then, she says, she thought, “There's a very easy answer to this question.”
Gilbert put three covers for her upcoming novel “The Signature of All Things” on her Facebook page, and invited readers to vote for their favorite until March 24. The chosen cover will be shown on March 25.
The author said that while choosing the cover was a tough process, writing the book itself was quite the opposite.
It was “such a joy and homecoming,” Gilbert said of writing fiction in comparison to memoirs and nonfiction.
“Signature” follows Alma Whittaker, a scientist living in 19th-century Philadelphia who becomes involved with a painter who holds different ideas about life. The book is due to be released Oct. 1 through Viking.
Gilbert is best-known for her bestselling memoir "Eat, Pray, Love," which followed her journey across the world as she tried to recover after a divorce. The book was turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts in 2010. The author also published a follow-up memoir, "Committed," in 2010 about her exploration of the custom of marriage as she prepared to marry. Before "Eat, Pray, Love" turned her into a household name, Gilbert also published "Stern Men," a novel, in 2000; "Pilgrims," an award-winning 1997 short story collection; and a biography, "The Last American Man," in 2002.
Check out the possible covers for the author's newest book on Gilbert’s Facebook page here.
When one of their own passed away suddenly in 1970, the newspapers of Chicago remembered him in obituaries as a savvy young copy editor who left a widow and two little boys. He died, it was said, "after visiting friends."
The nosy parkers at the papers didn't feel the need to provide any more details. Their natural curiosity had suddenly vanished, gone like last week's fishwrap.
The family went on, the boys grew up, and the true story of a mysterious death remained a closely held secret. Then one of the boys, now an editor at GQ Magazine, decided to uncover the truth regardless of how painful it might be.
What actually happened late one night? Were there actually any "friends" or was that a bit of newspaper subterfuge, a bid to protect a buddy's reputation? What did people know, when did they know it and how could those still alive be coaxed to talk?
Michael Hainey's tale – part detective story, part memoir, part elegy – unfolds in the captivating and poignant new book After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story. He whips back and forth between the decades in search of clues, finding closed-mouth newspaper journalists (a species previously thought to be mythical) and unhelpful government paper-shufflers who are actually vulnerable to human emotion or at least free coffee (ditto).
Should anyone try to strip bare the past of a parent, especially one who can no longer defend or explain or deflect? I asked Hainey to ponder that question and consider whether mothers and fathers owe the truth to their children.
Q: Why is it so important to understand the lives of our parents?
A: We forget that our identities, our narrative stories that we used to tell ourselves who they are, are bound up in our parents' identities and their stories.
To know our own identify, to know our own stories, I've learned that you have to go into that past, into your parents' past. If you don't know their story, you don't know your story.
Q: What was going through your mind as you launched this detective story, not knowing whether it would hurt you, your mother and brother, or other people?
A: As I say in the book, we all say we want the truth, but that doesn't mean everyone else wants it. I had a lot of fear, and it held me back in different ways and different times.
Q: Did you feel like you were bearing witness to lives lived?
A: I wanted to bear witness to everyone in the book.
I tried very hard to honor everyone living and not living. I wanted to treat anyone I encountered with compassion and humanity: this is a life lived.
Q: You interviewed people who vividly remembered personalities and conversations from more than four decades ago. Were you surprised how they remembered so much?
A: I wasn't surprised. They were young and vibrant back then. These were very vital years for them, and it's a generation that learned to retain its memories. We have to hold onto those stories because that's how we form our identities.
Q: One of the saddest moments in the book comes when your mother bitterly remembers how her married women friends abandoned her, apparently because she became a pretty and available widow – a threat to their husbands. Did it surprise you to look back at that time and see things like that?
A: I forgot what it was really like.
My brother and I couldn't even remember a divorced family in our neighborhood. People were still two-parent families and very nuclear. To be a single mother in our neighborhood was just unheard of.
I also see how far we've progressed. I went to school the day my father died, and the day after the funeral I was back at school with my brother.
There was no such thing 43 years ago as grief counselors or school psychologists. I'm sure that if someone with a trained eye had seen me, they would have thought, "This boy is having problems adjusting."
Q: But no one noticed?
A: As my mother said tearfully at times, "I didn't know any better."
Q: Do you think parents have a right to keep big secrets about themselves from their kids?
A: Sure. You have a right to your secrets. But if someone asks a parent a question in search of a truthful answer, there's a responsibility to tell that answer. Whether it's a kid or someone in their 40s, I don't think anyone should ever lie to someone actively.
But unless someone chooses to ask you about it, you don't need to reveal it.
I have a friend whose father told her when she was a teenager that he was having an affair: Don't tell your mother.
She said: "I didn't want to know this, why did you tell me this?"
What are you supposed to do with that? Does a kid want and need that information?
Q: Do you ultimately think you made the right choice by uncovering what happened?
A: I learned some not-good things, and I learned a lot of good things. Ultimately, the book resonates with readers because it inspires a lot of conversations with parents while they are still alive.
That's a really positive powerful gift of the book: It's never too late. What do you really know about your parents? We all have families and we all have these secrets. If we look at our lives, once we learn the truth about something we're always relieved.
The truth might be upsetting in the moment, but you never regret you know the truth because it allows you to move forward in your life. [The problem comes] when we don't know the truth, or choose to not hear the truth, when we know we're compromising and choosing to tell ourselves a lie or allow a lie to have life.
We need to go into our past sometimes before we can go forward.
Randy Dotinga is a Monitor contributor.
When Washington Post editors assigned an expert in botany to read renowned primatologist Jane Goodall's new book, "Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants" which comes out next month, they were hoping for a book review. But what they got instead was some distressing news: Goodall's book contained passages taken without attribution or footnotes from a variety of Web sites.
A Washington Post article details the places in the book where the borrowing appears.
In a statement, Goodall said, "I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies. I hope it is obvious that my only objective was to learn as much as I could so that I could provide straightforward factual information distilled from a wide range of reliable sources."
Goodall wrote "The Seeds of Hope" – which the Post calls "a passionate narrative about plants" – with Gail Hudson, who has contributed to two other books by Goodall.
Goodall's (and her publisher's) lapse is another case of high-profile plagiarism charges that have tainted such authors as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Fareed Zakaria and Stephen Ambrose, as well as a string of German politicians.
It's easy to blame plagiarism on the Internet, sloppy research assistants, or the "copy/paste" function on keyboards, and many authors have done so. Many in the book world also blame publishers for not doing more rigorous checking of manuscripts prior to publication.
In Goodall's case, there is no suggestion that her intent was to pass off the ideas of others as her own. The borrowing that is found in her book is an instance of what the Post calls "content copying" – a serious lapse nonetheless, although, as the Post notes, when looking into a plagiarism charge, "questions of intent, haste, carelessness, number and length of echoed passages all come into play."
According to the Post, Goodall has said that she will discuss the issue on her Jane Goodall Institute Web site blog and will correct future editions.
There are three enemies of Americans in the food that the country eats daily, says writer Michael Moss, and their names are also the title of his new book: “Salt Sugar Fat.”
Moss, a New York Times reporter, won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2009 story about what was really going into the meat eaten by US residents, and his research for the piece inspired him to go farther into investigating what goes into our food. His new book argues that three ingredients are causing health problems in Americans, and considers the degree to which many consumers are ingesting far more of these products than they may realize.
Moss was able to convince many in the food industry to speak honestly about their policies in his interviews for the book.
“Many opened up, not always eagerly, but willingly, to help me tell the full story,” Moss told the Chicago Tribune. “These interviews also ... showed me that many of these companies are peopled with pure scientists who have a conscience and are well meaning. But this is America, and so these companies' primary mission is to sell items, in this case food. And they are deeply beholden to Wall Street.”
Moss’s book examines foods like cereals, sodas, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Oreo cookies, and more, diving into what’s actually in the products and how each company is selling its wares to consumers, especially kids and teenagers.
In an interview with NPR, the writer cited one example of marketing strategy with the cereal Frosted Mini-Wheats, which created a series of commercials claiming that kids who ate a bowl in the morning would be better prepared for school.
“What the [company] came up with was some science that they had generated that they said showed that kids who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast would be as much as or almost 20 percent more alert in the classroom, which the company translated into better grades for kids,” Moss said. “That campaign went on for a while until the FTC jumped in and said, 'Hey, wait a minute, we're looking at your study and it doesn't really show anything near that kind of gain,' and not only that, but they weren't even looking at other breakfasts to compare to the Frosted Mini-Wheats.”
Moss’s book came out on Feb. 26 and currently holds second place on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list for the week of March 24.
Reviews have been largely positive, with Boston Globe reviewer Laura Collins-Hughes calling the book “an exactingly researched, deeply reported work of advocacy journalism.”
Associated Press reviewer Jessica Gresko agreed, noting that Moss could be repetitive but that he’s “at his best when he’s acting like a journalist: talking to people, sifting through and explaining documents, and writing with finger-licking flair.”
One guarantee: Once you set down the book, you probably won’t be reaching for a bag of potato chips.
The latest literary feud pits the windy city of Chicago against the island paradise of Honolulu. And never before have two cities fought so bitterly over which gets to host... a library.
Of course, it’s not just any library. It’s a presidential library.
That’s right, though the end of President Obama’s term is four long years away, Chicago and Honolulu have already begun to mount ambitious campaigns to convince the president to house his presidential library in their respective cities.
And boy, are they trying. At least one of the campaigns sounds more like a pitch for a luxury vacation resort than a library.
Honolulu is attempting to woo the president with a $75 million plot of “oceanfront property on a rocky peninsula in the last undeveloped part of urban Honolulu,” according to the AP.
The state legislature has apparently already passed two resolutions urging Obama to house his library in Hawaii, with one calling it “a matter of great state pride that President Obama is the first Hawaii-born citizen to hold that high office.”
And it’s building a case. Officials in the Aloha state argue the library should be built in Honolulu because the president was born there, the city attracts millions of tourists, and the site would be a fitting symbol of Obama’s foreign policy focus on the Asia-Pacific region, according to the AP.
So confident are officials there that representatives from the University of Hawaii have visited almost all of the 13 official presidential libraries across the country to explore establishing one in Honolulu.
Chicago, meanwhile, is not taking it lying down.
Officials there say the Windy City is the obvious choice: Obama’s career-shaping days as a community organizer were forged there, as was his political career as a state senator and a US Senator representing Illinois. What’s more, the president was a law professor at the University of Chicago, First Lady Michelle Obama grew up in Chicago, and the family has their home in the city’s South Side, which is pushing hard for the honor.
City officials have pinpointed several potential locations, including the site of the old Michael Reese Hospital in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood near the University of Chicago as well as a former US Steel South Works site along Lake Michigan.
Obama has stayed out of the debate so far – “It is a tough choice, but it’s not one that I’ve made yet,” he said last month – but Politico reports that Chicago is “the heavy favorite.”
Our favorite? The fact that a library is getting so much attention at all. In our book, at least, it’s a win-win situation.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.
Doubleday is offering free copies of Dan Brown's blockbusting bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" on the 10th anniversary (that's tin, right?) of the book, reports The New York Times. The promotion started Monday and will run through January 24.
The new issue of "Da Vinci Code" contains the first chapter of Brown's news book "Inferno" at the end. "Inferno" will be released on May 14, and once again features Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon as its protagonist.
Brown will make only one promotional appearance for "Inferno." He will appear at Lincoln Center in Manhattan on May 15. The event will be televised and broadcasted to libraries and bookstores that are interested.
It appears that there are an unlimited number of free copies available of "The Da Vinci Code." Doubleday has ordered 4 million copies for the first printing of "Inferno."
After having had its release date moved up several months, director Baz Luhrmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald classic “The Great Gatsby” will open the Cannes Film Festival in May.
“The Great Gatsby” is scheduled to hit US theaters May 10, five days before it will open the festival on May 15.
“It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes Film Festival,” Luhrmann said in a statement, according to USA Today. "We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts.”
Luhrmann’s version of the classic novel stars “Django Unchained” actor Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character, “An Education” star Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire of the “Spider-Man” films as narrator Nick Carraway.
According to Reuters, DiCaprio's return to the festival in association with the film will be his first appearance there since 2007.
Films that have opened the Cannes Film Festival over the past few years are often critically acclaimed and have gone on to be nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes, and other awards. The 2012 opener, Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” snagged a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination and a Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe nomination. Director Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris,” which opened the 2011 festival, earned Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations and won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar as well as the Best Screenplay Golden Globe. It also snagged Best Musical or Comedy and Best Director Golden Globe nominations.
Bucking the trend was the 2010 Cannes Film Festival opener, director Ridley Scott’s take on “Robin Hood,” which was critically panned. However, Pixar’s well-received animated film “Up,” which was the rare animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, opened the 2009 festival.