Category: Memoir

Snowden’s Memoir Reignites Controversy Over Gov. Surveillance

Six years ago, Edward Snowden shocked the world when he revealed the U.S. government was secretly implementing a plan to collect and monitor every phone call, text message, and email. Now, he’s telling how he helped create this system of mass surveillance and why he chose to expose it in his memoir, Permanent Record. 

 

Image via Amazon.com

 

The book’s release is not without its controversies, though. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Sep. 18, alleging that the whistleblower’s memoir violates a non-disclosure agreement he signed while working for the CIA and NSA. Strangely, the lawsuit does not seek to prevent distribution of the Permanent Record. Rather, the DOJ asks the court to seize the financial proceeds from the book. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement:

 

Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit.

 

 

Typically, government employees with access to sensitive information have to submit any published work to their agency for review. Permanent Record contains no secrets that haven’t already been published by other news organizations. Snowden did not submit the book to the government for review prior to publication, preferring to publish his uncensored story. Ben Wizner, an attorney for Mr. Snowden who runs the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy and technology project commented on the circumstances of the lawsuit:

 

Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.

 

 

It’s understandable why the U.S. government might want to stifle Permanent Record‘s release seizing its profits. The story he leaked in 2013—of the government’s vast surveillance network capable of monitoring the activity of every person on the Internet—is still shocking today. In a section of the book describing the XKEYSCORE system which is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life,” Snowden writes:

 

It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact.

 

But perhaps the lawsuit will have the opposite effect, driving more attention to it than it originally attracted. Anyway, Permanent Record is set to be one of the most important political books of the year. Still living in exile in Russia, this is Snowden’s chance to tell his story truthfully.

 

 

Featured image via Getty Images, Justin Sullivan 

Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Guts’ Empowers Young Readers to Embrace Mental Health

Guts, Telgemeier’s latest book from Scholastic Books, puts you in Telgemeier’s shoes as she works through her fears and anxieties. It tells the story of Raina and her mother getting a horrible case of food poisoning. Even though they get better, Raina starts feeling very anxious about getting food poisoning again. This fear gets worse and worse, interfering with her life at school and with friends, and ultimately Raina discovers ways to manage and work through her fears.

 

 

Given Telgemeier’s popularity among young readers, Guts has a one million copy initial print run for good reason. Each of her books has received widespread critical acclaim for how their nuanced and personal explorations of childhood fears and anxieties. Her graphic memoirs are credited as one the reasons young readers have begun reading comic books and graphic novels again. “She’s a true comics superstar who essentially created a brand new category of comics in the American market: middle-grade graphic memoir,” said Gene Luen Yang, another acclaimed graphic novelist.

 

A page from Raina Telgemeier’s latest memoir (Scholastic Graphix)

 

Telgemeier’s Smile was well-received by critics and readers alike when it first debuted in 2010. And each of her books since then have reached a wider and wider audience. Her largely autobiographical works are so accessible and emotionally resonant that there are 13.5 million copies of them in print.

While her memoirs certainly target a younger demographic, her candid look at how fear has affected her life is sure to resonate with anyone who knows the struggle of growing up and learning to navigate the weird, unpredictable world. And much like Smile, Telgemeier’s expects Guts to fly off the shelves. Ellie Berger, Executive Vice President and President, Trade Publishing at Scholastic Books said of Telgemeier’s appeal:

Raina’s readership is wide ranging in age and appeals to all genders. The books’ accessibility and relatability are at the core of what makes Raina’s stories so popular.

“It takes guts to face your fears,” Telgemeier says in the trailer for Guts.

 

 

Are you looking forward to reading Guts? Have you read any of Telgemeier’s other work? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram!

 

 

 

Featured images via American Libraries Magazine and Amazon

Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Memoir is Poised to Flop

As Britain experiences another confusing chapter in the Brexit farce, David Cameron’s For the Record struggles to attract readers’ attention. Clocking in at an absolutely massive 752 pages, Cameron’s memoir promises a candid look at his time in parliament. It arrives in bookstores at a particularly inopportune moment in British politics, with Brexit dominating the news cycle for the past month or so. Preorder sales have been…less than stellar for For the Record.

 

Image via PA:Press Association

 

Cameron’s memoir languished low on the charts all of last week. In some sense, who can blame readers for not jumping at the opportunity shell out for such a hefty tome? The book was slated for publication last year, but Cameron’s publishers insisted on cutting nearly 100,000 words. But nearly 752 pages (even after the cut!) is quite the commitment for any reader. Still, for politics junkies, perhaps a book based on nearly 53 hours of recorded meetings Cameron held with Daniel Finkelstein (a conservative Times columnist) is well worth it.

 

 

HarperCollins, Cameron’s publisher, purchased to For the Record the rights for nearly £800,00, so the book’s lackluster preorder figures are causing quite a bit of stress for them. Now they’re relying on the former prime minister’s name to drive attention to the memoir. Though, given how events since 2016 have unfolded in the UK, perhaps the fact that Cameron’s name was on the book doomed it from the start. Comparisons made to Tony Blair’s memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, about his time as prime minister don’t bode well for Cameron either. Blair’s book broke sales record when it first hit shelves, but the initial preorder figures for For the Record have been abysmal, ranking as low as 335th last Thursday on Amazon charts.

 

Image via Yui Mok/PA

 

The memoir features Cameron’s opinions on Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and the now-infamous 2016 European referendum that ultimately ended his tenure as Prime Minister. He suggests Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit and merely supported it to further his political career without thinking it would ever succeed. Cameron’s inside perspective is interesting in light of the fact that Johnson currently finds himself at Downing Street in large part because of he championed the leave movement.

For The Record releases this Thursday, September 19. So help out ya boy Dave and pick up a copy. Please, he’s begging you, like actually.

 

 

Featured image via Alamy

Mercy Please! The ‘Just Mercy’ Trailer Has Been Released!

The fall/winter movie season means that many Oscar hopefuls will be hitting cinemas in order to compete for the grand prize. With an all-star cast and powerful message behind it, Just Mercy has all the ingredients of a potential award winner.

 

 

Based on the memoir of the same name by Bryan Stevenson, the film stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson as he moves to Alabama to help those wrongly convicted heinous crimes and cannot afford proper representation. He then decides to represent Walter McMillian, a man convicted of killing an 18-year-old girl despite there being evidence that proves his innocence. 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

The film follows the trial of McMillian as well as the formation of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit started by Stevenson that provides legal representation for those who may have been denied a fair trial.

 

Bryan Stevenson. Image Via Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau

 

Jamie Foxx plays McMillian, while Brie Larson also stars as local advocate Eva Ansley. Tim Blake Nelson and O’Shea Jackson Jr. also star.

Watch the full trailer here:

 

 

Just Mercy will be released on Christmas Day

 

 

 

Featured Image Via ComingSoon

Nonfiction Books To Expand Your Reading List With!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

 

5. ‘I carried a Watermelon‘ by Katy Brand

 

I Carried a Watermelon

Image via Amazon

 

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand is a delightful book for fans of Dirty Dancing. In it, Brand explores the legacy of the film, from how it pushed women’s stories to the forefront of commercial cinema to its depiction of abortion, which has been described as ‘Gold Standard’ by pro-choice campaigners. Part memoir about a personal obsession, and part homage to the film, Brand’s celebration includes her own memories and interviews with other fans of the film.

 

4. ‘Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass‘ by Aisha Amarfio

 

Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass

Image via Amazon

 

Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass by Aisha Amarfio is exactly what it sounds on the tin. This is the ultimate guide to using crystals in every aspect of your life. Designed to accommodate the beginner crystal practitioner or merely someone who is interested in learning how crystals work, the book explains the major types of crystals, the best ways to use them, and helps you select the right type of crystal depending on your needs and desires.

 

 

3. ‘Louisa on the front linesby Samantha Seiple 

 

Louisa on the front lines

Image via Amazon

 

Louisa on the Frontlines by Samantha Seiple is the first narrative nonfiction book focusing on the least-known aspect of Louisa May Alcott’s career—her time spent as a nurse during the Civil War. Though her service was brief, the dramatic experience was one that she considered pivotal in helping her write the beloved classic Little Women. It also deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through it all, she kept a journal and wrote letters to her family and friends.

These letters were published in the newspaper, and her subsequent book, Hospital Sketches spotlighted the dire conditions of the military hospitals and the suffering endured by the wounded soldiers she cared for. To this day, her work is considered a pioneering account of military nursing. Alcott’s time as an Army nurse in the Civil War helped her find her authentic voice—and cemented her foundational belief system. Louisa on the Frontlines reveals the emergence of this prominent feminist and abolitionist–a woman whose life and work has inspired millions and continues to do so today.

 

2. ‘Challenged Accepted!‘ by Celeste Barber 

 

Challenged Accepted!

Image via Amazon 

 

Challenge Accepted! by Celeste Barber is a part memoir, part comedy routine, part advice manual, Challenge Accepted! is Celeste at her best, revealing her secrets to love, friendship, family, and marriage (oh hai, #hothusband), and how to deal with life’s many challenges—why she checks the bath for sharks, how Nutella quite literally shaped who she is as a woman, and why being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly. It’s real, like totally, really real.

 

1. We’re going to need more wine‘ by Gabrielle Union

 

We're Going to Need More Wine

image via Amazon

 

We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union is a fearless collection of personal essays from the woman who made her name with a passionate editorial about sexual violence. In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents.

Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon