From Barney Frank to William Wellman | Biography/Memoir Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 3

Frank, Barney. Frank. Farrar. Mar. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780374280307. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374711429. CD: Macmillan Audio. BIOGRAPHY
Frank has some pretty impressive credentials—as a Democrat, he represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts for nearly five decades and chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2013—and one impressive first: he was the first member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage while serving in office. Here he recounts his life while explaining how the political process works and how his party can rebuild faith in government.

Hodgman, George. Bettyville: A Memoir. Viking. Mar. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780525427209. $27.95. MEMOIR
I hear good things about this memoir from practiced magazine and book editor Hodgman, who abandoned Manhattan for his hometown, Paris, MO, to care for his ailing mother, Betty. Betty is tough, sharp-tongued, opinionated, determined to avoid assisted living, and unable to lyndseyacknowledge that she’s never accepted her son’s being gay. A dual portrait of big-town publishing and small-town wistfulness and of two very different people, with horns locked yet deeply linked.

Lyndsey, Anna. Girl in the Dark: A Memoir. Doubleday. Mar. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780385539609. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539616. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR
A hit at the London Book Fair and the publisher’s biggest book this month, the pseudonymous Lyndsey’s memoir explains what it has been like to develop such a sensitivity to light that she has had to spend months in a blacked-out room with audiobooks her only companions. Discovering how lovely the world is when she can wander out; wondering whether this restricted situation is fair to the man she loves—these are some of the issues that surface in what is reportedly an evocatively written book.

Vance, Ashlee. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future Silicon Valley Guy. Ecco. Mar. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062301239. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062301260. BIOGRAPHY
Having spent years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for the New York Times, Vance made the leap to Bloomberg Businessweek. So you can depend on him to know whereof his speaks when he chronicles the life and successes of Elon Musk, the mind behind SpaceX, wellmanTesla, and SolarCity and a whip-smart entrepreneur who made a mint when one of his Internet companies, PayPal, was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Wellman, William Jr. Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel. Pantheon. Mar. 2015. 608. ISBN 9780307377708. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781101870280. BIOGRAPHY
Sure you’ve heard of William (“Wild Bill”) Wellman, the director of Wings, the first Academy Award winner for best picture, as well as The Public Enemy (Jimmy Cagney at his toughest), the original A Star Is Born (which Wellman also cowrote), and more. Now his son offers a thoroughgoing biography. Look for Wellman film festivals around the time of publication.


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.