Monica Lewinsky Needs a Publisher; 'No Easy Day' Topples 'Fifty Shades'

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Today in books and publishing: SEAL's nudges Fifty Shades off top spot; Lewinsky shopping book; iTunes is Vagina-shy; former Goldman banker gets memoir deal.

Fifty Shades dethroned by No Easy Day. E.L. James' book has been the best-selling title since April 22 according to Nielsen BookScan, but this week ex-Navy SEAL Mark Owen stormed the No. 1 spot with his bin Laden assassination tell-all No Easy Day. The book sold 253,000 copies in its first week, almost three times as many Fifty Shades copies sold in the same period. However, Publishers Weekly notes that other books in recent memory have far outperformed No Easy Day—Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs cleared 379,000 in its first week. [Publishers Weekly] 

Anyone want to publish Monica Lewinsky's book? Monica Lewinsky was already the subject of one Clinton scandal book, Monica's Story, the authorized biography by Andrew Morton. Now, over 15 years since Monicagate broke, she's out trying to find a publisher for a top-secret book of her own. The New York Post breathlessly reports, "We’re told Lewinsky has been making the rounds with major publishers, who were all asked to sign nondisclosure agreements to take the meetings." A hazy "insider" tells the paper, "I'm sure every major publisher was interested in hearing what she had to say," but Lewinsky's representatives wouldn't comment on the book's contents. [New York Post]

Recommended Reading

A deeper look inside Goldman Sachs. Whether they stay in the game or burn bridges in a high-profile New York Times op-ed, investment bankers can't possibly go wrong. By closing the door on Goldman Sachs, Greg Smith got Hachette to open theirs to him (and probably cut him a sweet advance, too). The former Goldman employee who wrote the widely circulated Times piece "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs," now has a book deal. Expect Smith's memoir, with the drastically altered title Why I Left Goldman Sachs, to be available on October 22. [Reuters]

Naomi Wolf's Vagina obscured on iTunes. The title of Naomi Wolf's "new biography" of female genitalia is too hot for Apple. The iTunes store lists Vagina as V****a, unintentionally yet perfectly illustrating Wolf's point that the body part is still "thought of as slightly shameful." Couldn't they have at least kept a few more letters in? I feel bad for all the readers who bought this hoping for "An astonishing work of cutting edge science and cultural history that radically reframes how we understand the vicuña." [The Guardian]

An excerpt from James M. Cain's upcoming posthumous novel. The long-lost manuscript found languishing in a desk drawer; it's like something out of a crime novel. In this case, that manuscript actually was a crime novel. Last year, editor Charles Ardai finally found the last novel written by James M. Cain, author of pulpy classics The Postman Always Rings Twice and Mildred Pierce. Hard Case Crime will release The Cocktail Waitress next week, and The Hairpin has a lurid excerpt to whet your appetite. "By looking at them, I knew those girls were for sale," says the narrator, a young widow who takes a job as a cocktail waitress to support herself. " I guess I didn’t mind much, as I knew that such things went on and, from talking with Liz, that women I might like and respect could do them; and yet I began to feel nervous, and sick at the stomach somehow—or if not exactly sick, a bit queasy, as they say. I felt I had my foot in something." [The Hairpin]

How good is David Byrne at explaining How Music WorksThe New York Times' Dwight Garner thinks the former Talking Heads frontman and current bike rack designer should stick to making music instead rather than writing about it. "It ain’t no party, this book. It definitely ain’t no disco," Garner writes of How Music Works, David Byrne's new "textbook for a survey course you didn’t mean to sign up for" that "drifts between music history, sonic anthropology, mild biographical asides, broad pop theory and grandfatherly financial and artistic advice." [The New York Times]

Laura Bush tells us who'll be at the Texas Book Festival. The former librarian focussed on literacy when she and her husband occupied the White House, and she's still out there promoting reading. She announced that this October's Texas Book Festival, to be in Austin, will feature Tim O'Brien, Cheryl Strayed, Junot Díaz, Tony Danza and Jewel. When asked if she or George are working on any new books, she said, "I think George has one in mind." [The San Francisco Chronicle]

Fred Armisen impersonates Penny Marshall for her new book's trailer. Marshall's My Mother Was Nuts comes out next week. 

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