After MCA passed away last year, it was hard to guess what Ad-Rock and Mike D would do next. Both had creative pursuits outside of the band: Adam Horovitz has acted in flicks with Donald Sutherland and made music with his side project, BS 2000; Mike Diamond has been known to blog about wine. But the thought of a pair of solo albums, or even a continued music collaboration without Yauch, seemed, for anyone invested in the Beasties as a singular unit, really unlikely. Well, credit's now due to the two for figuring out a perfect next project. They're writing a book.
Or, in less histrionic terms, B.J. Novak got a book deal.
As the New York Times reports, Novak has signed a two-book deal with Knopf worth seven figures, with the first book — a collection of stories — due in 2014. NBD, though, cause it's already been written. Says Novak's agent Richard Abate, "The closest analogy for me is Woody Allen. Underneath these stories is a real intellectual curiosity. I think their appeal is that they’re incredibly accessible and comic, but at the same time they’re exploring the modern condition." And if you've caught Novak live, you may have gotten yourself a sneak preview. THR says the stories will be adapted from "a series of live shows he performed at Upright Citizens Brigade." They also point out that Novak's deal gives a masculine spin to the recent trend of high-profile book projects from funny people, which includes Abate's clients Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey, plus upcoming joints from Amy Poehler and Lena "The $3.5 Million Woman" Dunham.
When was the last time the publishing industry had anything this top secret? Penguin announced on Wednesday that, on September 11, they'll be dropping a bombshell of a book: No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, written anonymously by one of the members of the Navy SEAL team on the ground in Abbottabad that day. The book, which had been kept strictly under wraps until its public announcement, was written by a SEAL using the pseudonym Mark Owen. According to the publisher, the book provides a "blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen's life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death," and also delves into a series of other top secret SEAL raids. And when Owen goes on TV to promote what is presumed to be a blockbuster, they'll have to do that thing where they creepily modulate his voice and hide him in some shadows. Cool!
I used to own every single Haruki Murakami novel and short story collection in paperback. But when I went to my bookshelf a few weeks ago, I realized that I only had two left. The rest had been borrowed and never returned, which either says a lot about Murakami’s popularity or the kind of company kept by Murakami fans like myself.
But as much as I’ve enjoyed Murakami’s novels — some of them even multiple times — the relationship has always been ambiguous. Murakami’s widespread appeal is easy to understand but tough to pin down. His novels are intricate and ambiguous, yet extremely readable and never short on dry wit. Murakami’s characters inhabit strange realities and fascinating mental spaces. The covers designed by Chip Kidd certainly don’t hurt.
Years before Decoded, Jay-Z had a contract to write a proper autobiography called The Black Book. He bailed out during the research process, though, later telling USA Today that uncovering details about why his father left the family “threw me for a loop emotionally” and that, in general, the revelations in the book “felt like I was going too far.” And while Jay still shared plenty, the piecemeal format he settled on for Decoded — part lyric explication, part personal anecdotes — meant he could comfortably skirt whatever he wanted. Did that mean, perhaps, that you got fewer details on the private life of a rap legend than you would have liked? Good news, then: Nas — the only other modern rapper nearly as revered as Jay-Z, at least until Kanye's been around for a few more years — is writing a book too, and his is an all-purpose autobiography.