Today in publishing and literature: Maya Angelou isn't happy about the way Common used an original poem she contributed to his upcoming album, Tim Tebow's success extends to the bestseller charts, and The Wall Street Journal asks 50 different notables about the best book they read in 2011.
Maya Angelou tells the New York Post she's "surprised and disappointed" that a poem she contributed to rapper Common's upcoming album The Dreamer, The Believer appears on a song "in which he also used the ‘N’ word numerous times." The Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet says she had "no idea" that Common would be using the word on the song "The Dreamer." In an interview with the paper, Common admitted he never told her the specifics of what he'd be rapping about on the track, but says he told Angelou "what ‘The Dreamer’ was about and what I wanted to get across to people." The album comes out tomorrow. [New York Post via Arts Beat]
Quarterback Tim Tebow's penchant for improbable fourth quarter comebacks has turned the Denver Broncos into an AFC playoff contender, and also provided a nice year-end sales boost for HarperCollins, which published his memoir Through My Eyes back in May. When the book debuted, it spent 13 weeks on the bestseller list, before returning last month, and posting its best sales figures over the last week. According to HarperCollins Senior Vice President Lisa Sharkey, the publisher has had to reprint the book "practically every day" since Tebow took over as Denver's starting quarterback .[Fox Sports via Jacket Copy]
The Wall Street Journal asked "fifty of our friends" to list the best books they read in 2011. About the only thing more diverse than the picks was the list of people who responded. Among the more notable picks:
- Politico's Mike Allen: Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow.
- New York County district attorney Cyrus Vance: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.
- Novelist Gary Shteyngart: Matterhorn.
- Karl Rove: Civilization by Niall Ferguson.
- CIA director David Petraeus: Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern Espionage by Douglas Waller.
- Michael Milken: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.
- Garry Kasparov: How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer.
- Malcolm Gladwell: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, My Life by Keith Richards, Open by Andre Agassi.
Between Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, and Michael Chabon creating their own television shows, and Jonathan Franzen and Tom Perrotta working on small-screen adaptations of their own novels, it's never been a better time to be a novelist writing for television. The extra money is nice, but film provided that too: what's different, says Jennifer Egan, whose novel A Visit From The Goon Squad was optioned by HBO, is that television gives the author the impression of at least still being in control. "Ultimately," says Egan about her TV experience, "I’m interested in finding how these new ways can inform the novel itself.” [The New York Times]