Surely they all saw this coming. The Justice Department sued a onetime close friend and aide to the first lady on Tuesday to try to recoup the profits from a tell-all that disclosed embarrassing details about her. It’s the third DOJ lawsuit in recent months taking on a White House antagonist (after John Bolton and E. Jean Carroll). In “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady,” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said Melania Trump was selfish and image-obsessed, had a strained relationship with her stepdaughter Ivanka and was largely unfazed by her husband’s insults and lewd comments about women. Winston Wolkoff signed a nondisclosure agreement when she started volunteering to help Melania Trump early in the administration. (NYT)
And, the Trump campaign has suggested that Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide who also signed an NDA, pay for an ad campaign costing about $846,000 as a “corrective” remedy for her comments about President Trump in her 2018 book “Unhinged” and in subsequent interviews. She described Trump as racist and misogynistic. The recommendation was made in a document filed by the campaign from an expert witness in an ongoing arbitration case; The Times reviewed the document. (NYT)
Well-Read Black Girl, a group that highlights “inspiring reads by Black women writers,” is having its annual festival online this year — which means people beyond New York can attend. It’s Nov. 6 to 8. The 50 panelists will include Nikki Giovanni, Yaa Gyasi, Alice Randall and Jenna Wortham. The folks at wellreadblackgirl.org promise registration links shortly; meantime, the reading list is here: bookshop.org/lists/well-read-black-girl-virtual-festival-2020.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of “The Sympathizer,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has become the first Asian American member of the Pulitzer board. (Publishers Lunch)
Obituary notes: John N. Berry III, an editor at Library Journal for more than 50 years, was 87. (Publishers Weekly)
New and recent
From Zadie Smith, “Intimations,” six short personal essays written during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Writes Tessa Hadley in The Guardian, “There isn’t all that much explicitly about the pandemic, or the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and yet everything feels conceived under the pressure of those things happening, pushing out new meanings from old subjects.” (Penguin, 112 pp.)
About the late Sen. John McCain: “The Luckiest Man,” a “moving and lucidly written memoir” by Mark Salter, his longtime speechwriter and co-author (Simon & Schuster, 594 pp.). Salter “emphasizes the great man’s optimism and gratitude,” writes Barton Swaim, but a sense of tragedy also comes through, as does McCain’s wisecracking nature, his not being cut out for the “team sport” of lawmaking, and his general “lack of a governing philosophy.” Still, writes Swaim, “it is one of the great tragedies of our politics that John McCain was never elected president.” The Wall Street Journal published his review online Tuesday, the day after McCain’s mother, Roberta McCain, died at age 108.
“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, the author of “Reasons to Stay Alive” and “How to Stop Time” (Viking, 304 pp.). Here, a woman gets a chance to redo her life, with the aid of a library whose books can show her scenarios and results. (This is a Good Morning America pick for this month; it’ll be a movie, too, Deadline reports.)
From Bruce Rosenfeld, a physician in Virginia Beach, “Make Every Shot Count: How Basketball Taught a Point Guard to be a Surgeon,” a revised edition of his 2011 book. It adds an afterword and reflects his years teaching varsity basketball. Its essence, he said in an email, “is how basketball (sports) can teach you values; teach you skills; and essentially change your life. It did for me in that I ended up going to medical school and becoming a surgeon — without basketball my life probably would have gone down a very different path.” (Geoffrey, 270 pp.)
Also: John Grisham, “A Time for Mercy” … From Matthew McConaughey, a memoir, “Greenlights.”
— Erica Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
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