Today in books and publishing: Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa lands a book deal, HBO is taking Jonathan Franzen birding, chefs continue to distance themselves from the ghosts of cookbooks past.
Jonathan Franzen -- author, Twitter skeptic, and semi-fanatical birder -- is finally going to get pursue that last passion in front of a national television audience. HBO Documentary Films acquired the rights to The Central Park Effect, a 30-minute long documentary that premiered at South by Southwest last week. The film deals with seven of New York City's most devoted amateur birders, including the Freedom author, doing their bird-watching thing in the middle of a great metropolis. The film is slated to air sometime this summer. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Gwyneth Paltrow is not the only boldfaced chef-type pushing back against Julia Moskin's New York Times piece last week about the secret (and busy) lives of cookbook ghostwriters. Rachael Ray, one of the celebrity chefs Moskin mentions by name, has already told Eater that she has never employed a ghost. But what about Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, and Martha Stewart, some of the more prominent names that Moskin chooses to leave hanging when it comes to just how much they contribute to their own work. Could a clarification or correction be in the offing? Don't count on it, says Times Dining editor Susan Edgerly, who instead directs foodies to check out a follow-up blog post by Moskin in which Batali, Ray, Oliver, and Paltrow "acknowledged working with collaborators but said they wrote their own books." [WWD]