Pat Peoples, the protagonist of Matthew Quick's much buzzed-about debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, has just returned home to his parents' house from a long stay in a mental hospital. While holding on to his sanity with an unyielding belief in Hollywood-style silver linings, he fervently wishes for a reunion with his estranged wife, Nikki. Of course, nothing is going the way he expected. As NPR's Barrie Hardymon notes, the writing "shimmers": "This nimble, funny read is spiked with enough perception to allow the reader to enjoy Pat's blindly hopeful philosophy without irony." Quick's cinematic book is soon to be released as a film.
The first new Sherlock Holmes mystery to be authorized by Arthur Conan Doyle's estate, The House of Silk was published in hardcover in fall 2011, more than a century after the methodical sleuth made his first appearance in print. Author Anthony Horowitz has been transfixed by the series since receiving the complete Sherlock Holmes for his 16th birthday. Horowitz tells NPR's Lynn Neary that it wasn't merely the man and his distinctive methods that so captivated him; it was also the rich atmosphere of 19th century London. "It's the fog, the cobblestones, the fire flickering, the River Thames, the sound of the Stradivarius, the strange villains," he says. "It's the last gasp of English history before technology takes over. ... It really is the last glimmer of an entire age before it comes to modern times just around the corner. Maybe that's why we want to cling ... to it and remember it."
Over 14 years on Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond did many impressions, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sean Connery; but few of his cast members knew that Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and self-cutting as the result of childhood abuse. In his memoir, God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F-----, Hammond details the systematic brutality he suffered at the hands of his mother. Though most of his co-workers weren't aware of his inner turmoil, Hammond says he repeatedly checked himself into a psychiatric hospital in New York City for treatment. He also relied heavily on the producers of SN,L who were aware of his struggles, for support.
In the '80s, film critic Kenneth Turan accused MTV of creating "a generation of gratification-hungry sensation junkies with atrophied attention spans." So with almost 600 pages, I Want My MTVmight seem a daunting read for many of the network's fans. But as NPR's Elizabeth Allin notes, "the authors ... smartly structured this oral history as hundreds of short anecdotes, mirroring MTV's famous jump-cut aesthetic. Interviews with executives, VJs and musicians who achieved varying degrees of success (Limahl!), reveal a wealth of behind-the-scenes dish. ... Have YouTube at the ready when you reach Chapter 21, which chronicles the 'world's worst video.' Whether you agree or not, you will not be disappointed."
Regis Philbin holds the Guinness world record for clocking more hours in front of a camera than anyone else in the history of television. The game and talk show host has been a TV presence for more than 50 years on programs like The Joey Bishop Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, America's Got Talent and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In his memoir, How I Got This Way, Philbin chronicles meeting people who have changed him both personally and professionally. He also talks about the twists and turns of his career before he made it big and explains that he wasn't always as confident as he now seems. He tellsFresh Air's David Bianculli, "I missed so many opportunities along the way to do what I wanted to do because I didn't have the confidence to tell myself, much less anybody else, 'Yes, this is the business I wanted to be a part of.' "
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.