Today in books and publishing: Total Recall doesn't recall scandals; Amazon-affiliated book appears on B&N shelves; Günter Grass angers Israel again; the year's most challenged books.
Arnold pumps himself up in memoir. If celebrities aren't going to treat those fans faithful enough to read their memoirs to a juicy passage or two, then what's the point? The reviews of Arnold Schwarzenegger's new book Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story make it sound like an insufferable puff piece, eliding any real comment on the affair he carried on with his housekeeper in favor of self-aggrandizing PR. "Although an exhaustive and at times exhausting documentation of Schwarzenegger's unique and amazing career, it is a book almost completely devoid of self-examination," writes the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara. "For all the salacious behavior that has been attributed to and admitted by Schwarzenegger over the years, he portrays himself as a reasonable, earnest kind of guy who has merely made a few high-spirited mistakes, none of which he cares to discuss here." So if you were expecting this 656-page tome to shed some light on the sexual harassment allegations Schwarzenegger has continued to doge, or why he hid the child he conceived with his housekeeper from his ex-wife Maria Shriver, don't bother. "Secrecy is just a part of me," he writes nearly 600 pages into this "tell-all." If, however, you're looking for the former California governor's advice on how to succeed, you're in luck! Flip to the last chapter, "Arnold's Rules." [Los Angeles Times]
Barnes & Noble decides to sell Amazon-affiliated books after all. Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble drew a line in the sand. Facing steep competition from Amazon, they and other booksellers vowed never to sell titles affiliated with Amazon Publishing in their stores. Barnes & Noble spokesperson Mary Carey confirmed that the embargo would include all books released by New Harvest, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint that puts out Amazon titles. But there must be some way to skirt that prohibition, because New Harvest's My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir by Penny Marshall is on Barnes & Noble shelves, as Melville House's Kelly Burdick notes. "On Saturday, I spotted the book at the Barnes & Noble at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue," Burdick writes, "on a front-of-store table display, no less." Barnes & Noble isn't selling the e-book version of Marshall's memoir, but the chain's recent deal with Ingram will soon make Amazon e-books available through Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. [Melville House]