A slew of books is showing up in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination on Nov. 2, 1963. Among them is “Where Were You?” compiled and edited by veteran journalist Gus Russo and film director Harry Moses, with a foreword by newsman Tom Brokaw (Lyons, $29.95, 416 pages; on sale Nov. 5).
In it, dozens of people offer their recollections of the fateful day, and ruminate on the big-picture meaning and consequences. Included are politicians (Jimmy Carter, John Glenn, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden) and entertainers (Judy Collins, Jay Leno, Jane Fonda) and others. The book is the companion to NBC’s special two-hour documentary of the same name, set to air Nov. 22.
Two other Kennedy titles caught our eye. “Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House” by presidential historian Robert Dallek is an inside look at the Kennedy “brain trust” of advisers, who were infamous for their bickering (Harper, $32.50, 512 pages).
Water and politics
In the current fall issue are many thought-provoking articles on the Los Angeles aqueduct and its 100th anniversary, along with a piece that separates truth from fiction in the Roman Polanski-directed movie “Chinatown,” and excerpts from a summer journal written at a small cabin in the Sierra. Boom is published by the University of California Press and can be purchased at www.boomcalifornia.com – $10 for single issues, $37 for a yearly subscription of four issues.
Titles on the list
The National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award form a powerful literary triumvirate that can make a writer’s career and validate his/her works.
Now comes the announcement of the NBA foundation’s “long list” of 40 titles in four categories by a group of international finalists, to be followed by the “short list” on Wednesday and the awards ceremony Nov. 20 in New York City.
As a sampler, here’s the long list for fiction; the complete lists for the other three categories (nonfiction, young people’s literature, poetry) is at www.nationalbook.org.
• “Pacific” by Tom Drury
• “The End of the Point” by Elizabeth Graver
• “The Flamethrowers” by Rachel Kushner
• “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri
• “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra
• “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride
• “Someone” by Alice McDermott
• “Bleeding Edge” by Thomas Pynchon
• “Tenth of December” by George Saunders
• “Fools” by Joan Silber
New on the shelves
Few things are as personal and individualistic as reading tastes, as evidenced by these disparate titles:
Stretching out the story
The online site www.mentalfloss specializes in “random, interesting and amazing facts,” such as this entry. Noticing that 36 years had passed between the publication of Stephen King’s “The Shining” and the new sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” the editors compiled “other books that made fans wait decades to find out what happened next.”
• “Psycho” and “Psycho 2” by Robert Bloch – 23 years between books
• “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri and “Heidi Grows Up” by her translator, Charles Tritten – 37 years
• “Dracula” by Bram Stoker and “Dracula the Un-Dead” by his great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker – 95 years
• “Peter and Wendy” by J.M. Barrie and “Peter Pan in Scarlet” by Geraldine McCaughrean – 77 years
• “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Son of Rosemary” by Ira Levin – 30 years
• “The Witches of Eastwick” and “The Widows of Eastwick” by John Updike – 24 years
• “Catch-22” and “Closing Time” by Joseph Heller – 33 years
• “Dandelion Wine” and “Farewell Summer” by Ray Bradbury – 49 years
Editor's note: This story was changed Oct. 16 to correct who wrote the foreword for "Where Were You?"