Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Paul McCartney, Dance Moms, & the Assistant Who Answered Salinger’s Mail

Doyle, Tom. Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s. Ballantine. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780804179140; ebk. ISBN 9780804179157. MUSIC/MEMOIRdoyletom
Written by British music journalist Doyle, this account of an on-the-edge Paul McCartney trying to escape his Beatles past in the 1970s claims to be the only McCartney bio based on interviews with the subject himself. Lots of photos.

Gilbert, Matthew. Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. ISBN 9781250014221. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781250014214. PETS
A dog person myself, I can understand Gilbert’s journey from stuck-at-the-computer officer worker (he’s the Boston Globe’s TV critic) and collapse-at-home layabout to dog-park citizen, gathering with all manner of devotees to frolic with all manner of hounds in all manner of weather. Lots of folks like us out there; all it took for Gilbert was a yellow Lab named Toby.

Greenburg, Zack O’Malley. Michael Jackson, Inc. Atria. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781476705965. $26. MUSIC/BUSINESS
A senior editor at Forbes, Greenburg profiles Michael Jackson not as a musician but as a businessman who built and lost (a few times over) a billion-dollar business. Based on more than 100 interviews with the likes of music veteran Berry Gordy and performers 50 Cent and Sheryl Crow.

Hough, Derek. Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion. Morrow. Jun. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062323194. $26.99. DANCE/MEMOIR
Five-time Emmy Award nominee and the only four-time champion of the hit ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars, Hough talks about his life and career and explains how he turns stumbling celebrity partners into commendable dancers. With a 75,000-copy first printing; fun!

Ja Rule. Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man. Harper. Jun. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780062316172. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062316196. MUSIC/MEMOIR
Actor, singer, songwriter, rap legend: Ja Rule has it all, plus two years in federal prison and the experience of raising a teenage son, which he uses to speak to the single mothers of young African American males. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Loyd, Alex. The Greatest Principle: Unlocking the Hidden Keys to Ultimate Success in All Areas of Your Life. Grand Central Life & Style. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781455553877. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455553860. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455556380. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. SELF-HELP
In-demand psychologist and counselor Loyd proposes a self-improvement scheme to reduce stress and infuse one’s life with the greatest principle, love, in 40 days. Note that his first book, The Healing Code, sold nearly 60,000 copies in a self-published edition and subsequently over 100,000 copies in big-house print and ebook formats combined.

Lynch, Eimear. The Bridesmaids: True Tales of Love, Envy, Loyalty…and Terrible Dresses. Picador. May 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781250041777. pap. $16. HUMOR
Given the current wedding mania, you can’t go wrong with this book from Lynch, a 27-year-old contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler who has been a bridesmaid five times and can report feelingly on the phenomenon. Lots of insider stories from beyond Lynch’s immediate circle.

Miller, Abby Lee. Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned in Dance Class. Morrow. Jun. millerabby2014. 208p. ISBN 9780062304810. $22.99. SELF-HELP
The star of Lifetime’s hit Dance Moms, the top unscripted cable series in its time slot, and the popular new Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, Miller turns kids into stars. Here’s more general advice on success in life. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Mollen, Jenny. I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781250041685. $24.99. HUMOR/ESSAYS
Mollen, an actress soon to appear on HBO’s Girls and a writer called one of the funniest women on Twitter by the Huffington Post, offers very funny essays that capture the zeitgeist. Big publicity.

Muzyka, Zhena. Life by the Cup: Lessons of a Tea Mistress. Atria. Jun. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781476759609. $25. MEMOIR
As a young, broke, single mom with a son who desperately needed surgery, Muzyka decided to combine her knowledge of aromatherapy with her Gypsy grandmother’s teachings to create custom-blend teas she sold from a cart on a California street corner. Now Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Company is a multimillion-dollar brand. Here’s her story, plus 15 life lessons like “Start where you are” and “Generosity eliminates fear.”

Rakoff, Joanna. My Salinger Year. Knopf. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780307958006; ebk. ISBN rakoff9780307958013. MEMOIR
In the 1990s, after she abandoned graduate school, critic, journalist, and award-winning novelist Rakoff served as an assistant to a celebrated literary agent whose clients included J.D. Salinger. Her job: to answer Salinger’s heavy-duty fan mail, even as she worked by night on shaping her own writing. Interest in Salinger never grows stale, and you might have heard Rakoff’s story on Public Radio’s Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

Ratey, John J., M.D., & Richard Manning. Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316246095. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316246071. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365260. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. PSYCHOLOGY
Ratey, best-selling author, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and named one of the Best Doctors in America by his peers every year since 1997, joins with award-winning journalist Manning to show that the idea behind the trendy Paleo movement—that we’ve outstripped evolution and need to get back to basics for our physical and mental well-being—are grounded in good science. The 100,000-copy first printing says it all.

Voigt, Deborah. True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva. Harper. Jun. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062118271. $27.99. MUSIC/MEMOIR
Voigt is a top-flight opera soprano, but after losing the role of Ariadne at the Royal Opera House in 2004 because she couldn’t fit into her character’s little black dress, she underwent gastric bypass surgery and subsequently became addicted to alcohol, eventually attempting suicide. Here’s how she turned around her life; with a 50,000-copy first printing.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. Karl Helicher says:

    Happy New Year, Barbara. Some fine choices accompanied by a nice oxymoron: “dog person.”