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Nominated for Best Supporting Actor ~ Stanley Tucci ~The Lovely Bones

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Stanley TucciStanley Tucci was born in Peekskill, New York, the son of Joan (née Tropiano), a retired secretary and writer, and Stanley Tucci, Sr., a retired high school art teacher. His sister is actress Christine Tucci, and his cousin is the screenwriter Joseph Tropiano. He grew up in Katonah, New York and attended John Jay High School. Tucci played on the John Jay soccer team and baseball teams, however, his main interest lay in the school’s drama club, where he and fellow actor and high school buddy, Campbell Scott, son of actor George C. Scott, gave well-received performances at many of John Jay’s drama club productions. Tucci attended SUNY Purchase and completed his B.F.A. degree after four years in the school’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film.

Tucci made his Broadway debut in The Queen and the Rebels on 30 September 1982. His film debut was in Prizzi’s Honor (1985). Tucci is known for his work in films such as The Pelican Brief, Kiss of Death, Road to Perdition, and Big Night, and in the television series Murder One as the mysterious Richard Cross. Big Night (1996), which he co-wrote with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, starred in, and co-directed with Campbell Scott, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film also featured his sister Christine and mother, who wrote a cookbook for the film. It won him and Tropiano the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.

Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones

Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones

He has been nominated three times for Golden Globes, and won twice — for his title role in Winchell (1998), and for his supporting role as Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy (2001), both for HBO films. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Winchell. He was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his role as Johnny in the 2002 revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

In July 2006, Tucci made an appearance on the USA Network TV series Monk, in a performance that earned him a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series. Tucci’s TV series, the medical drama 3 lbs., debuted on CBS in the 10:00 p.m. EDT time slot on November 14, 2006. It was cancelled on November 30, 2006 due to low ratings. He can be heard as the voice over in the AT&T Wireless “Raising the Bar” marketing campaign. Tucci also played Nigel in the screen adaption of The Devil Wears Prada alongside Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway. In 2007, Tucci had a recurring role in medical drama ER. In 2009, Tucci again starred opposite Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia playing husband Paul Child to her Julia Child. Also in 2009, Tucci portrayed the murderer of a young girl in The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, for which he received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

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44-D’s Book Diaries: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

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My husband picked this book up for me this week. In Northern Illinois we are used to very harsh winters, and living less that 20 miles from the Wisconsin border, he thought I’d enjoy this. He was right…Now, I’d like to recommend it to you.

A Reliable Wife: Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt stands stands alone on the train platform anxiously awaiting the arrival of a visitor. The woman who arrives is not who he expects. This woman, this reliable wife, will decide whether Ralph Truitt lives or dies.

An Interview with Robert Goolrick


The plotting of A Reliable Wife seems very deliberately crafted, as readers must constantly change their expectations of these characters and their actions. There is one surprise after another as the story unfolds. Did you think about the reader’s experience as you were crafting your storytelling, or did you write the story as you saw it?

I wanted to give readers, first and foremost, a good solid story and a reading experience that is as sensual as it is cerebral. I thought about the story for years before I started writing, then started it several times and stopped, and finally just committed myself to writing down what I had already committed to memory, the story of three figures in a barren landscape. I thought a great deal about the myth of Phaedra, and her entanglements with Theseus and Hyppolitus. So I thought I knew pretty much the whole thing.

But you’re always surprised. I was surprised at Ralph’s reaction to the knowledge that he was being poisoned. I was surprised that the brief encounter with Alice in St. Louis became, for me, the emotional fulcrum of the book. And I was surprised by Catherine’s passion for knowledge, for the comfort she takes in the reading rooms of public libraries.

You’ve mentioned that Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip was one of the major inspirations for your novel. Can you talk a little about Lesy’s book and its relationship to your own?

Michael Lesy’s remarkable book is an examination of the lives of ordinary citizens of a small town in northern Wisconsin in 1896. It is a collection of photographs taken by the local photographer and brief newspaper accounts of the surprisingly erratic lives of the men and women who endured a hard life in a poor year in a bleak landscape.

Ralph and Catherine and Antonio are vivid, larger than life. I wanted to plant them very securely in the world, and the world they inhabit is the one depicted by Michael Lesy. It is a world in which no one is safe, in which the roof can always cave in when you least expect it.

I’ve always thought the lives of ordinary people are far more fascinating than the lives of the rich and powerful. An account of a man burying his father is more fascinating to me than a politician’s description of lunch with Henry Kissinger. A snapshot taken at the beach on a summer’s day is more memorable than any fine art photography. They show much more clearly the preciousness and grace of life.

Michael Lesy shows us how fragile life is, how hard it can be to get through the day without running off the rails.

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Robert Goolrick is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know It. This is his first novel. He lives in New York City.

Download the entire interview
Read an Excerpt of A Reliable Wife
NPR’s ‘Reliable Wife’: Madness And Passion In Wisconsin

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44-D’s Book Diaries: Abe Lincoln Makes An Awesome Vampire Hunter

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

The storyline…When Abraham Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died from an ailment called the “milk sickness.” Only later did he learn that his mother’s deadly affliction was actually the work of a local vampire, seeking to collect on Abe’s father’s unfortunate debts. When the truth became known to the young Abraham Lincoln, he wrote in his journal: “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become learned in all things–a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose.” While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for reuniting the North with the South and abolishing slavery from our country, no one has ever understood his valiant fight for what it really was. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time–all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War, and uncovering the massive role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

That’s a history re-write as seen by Seth Grahame-Smith. Whether it’s real or not, all I know is one thing. Grahame-Smith’s new book sold at auction on Wednesday. According to Publisher’s Weekly, he landed a two-book deal with Grand Central Press, with a $575,000 advance. Believe me, $575,000 is real as real as it gets.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Claudia Ballard at William Morris handled the deal, which was for North American rights only. It’s rumored that a film proposal has already started circulating and that William Morris is also handling film rights. Seth Grahame-Smith’s current novel, Pride, Prejudice & Zombies has sold has more than 120,000 copies since April, and is in development into a 2011 movie starring Natalie Portman.

Like the cover? Vampire Hunter’s striking cover art shows the noble Lincoln, standing in bloody footprints, holding an ax behind his back. Spoiler alert: The back cover reveals what else he’s holding: the head of a vampire.

As Katey Rich of CinemaBlend puts it, “why not a vampire-hunting Abe Lincoln? Our 16th President is quite popular right now, given all the Obama comparisons. But how much more would we like Obama if he could help us eradicate the scourge of the undead?

Look for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to drop on March 2, 2010.


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44-D’s Book Diaries: Stephen King And Steven Spielberg Team Up For Under The Dome

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Duo join forces to bring series to screen

Variety/Cynthia Littleton—It’s a potent combination: Stephen + Steven

Stephen King and Steven Spielberg are joining forces to develop a limited series based on King’s just-released supernatural thriller “Under the Dome.” DreamWorks TV has optioned the book and is looking to set it up as an event series, likely for cable. DreamWorks principal Stacey Snider was key in bringing the project to the company. Spielberg, King and Snider will exec produce along with DreamWorks TV chiefs Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. The book, which has earned strong reviews as a return to form for the prolific author, revolves around the drama that unfolds after an invisible force field suddenly descends on a small vacation town in Maine. As the locals fight for their survival, the town descends into warring factions led by enigmatic characters.

DreamWorks is starting to meet with writers for the project. The plan is to set a writer before shopping the skein to prospective buyers.

Spielberg and King have worked together in the past, developing a screen adaptation of King’s 1984 novel “The Talisman,” on which Spielberg has had the option for more than 20 years. That project has been developed as a feature, and it came close to being done as a mini for TNT a few years ago until it was tabled for budgetary reasons.

The “Dome” deal continues a burst of activity on the smallscreen side for Spielberg and DreamWorks TV. Among the high-profile projects in the works is a series about the development of a fictional Broadway tuner for Showtime. Another Showtime contender is a costume-drama revolving around the Borgia clan, penned by Neil Jordan and with Robert Zemeckis also producing.


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44-D’s Book Diaries: Stephen King’s Under the Dome



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44-D’s Book Diaries: R. Scott Reiss’ Black Monday

“Name the most powerful narcotic in the world,” he asks the former beggar boy. “Oil,” the mentor says. ” More than opium, more than heroin. The pipelines are syringes. The addicts pay anything for their supply, kill for it, steal for it, topple governments for it.”

Black Monday by R. Scott ReissThis gripping, high-concept thriller about an oil-eating microbe is written by best-selling author R. Scott Reiss. “Black Monday” is in movie development for release in 2012.

A plague that will cause the death of millions. A plague that will destroy countries. A plague that will plunge the world into a dark age. A plague that will make nobody sick…

When the first planes go down — in Europe, in California, in Asia — authorities blame terrorists. All flights are grounded as world leaders try to figure out how the global assault has been coordinated. And when cars, ships, and factories stop running too, it becomes clear that the common link is oil. Somehow a microbe, genetically engineered to destroy petroleum, has infected the world supply. The world descends into a new dark age.

Dr. Gregory Gillette, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, is a disease hunter specializing in microbes that attack human beings. When the Pentagon taps him to be part of the Rapid Response Team assembled to track and kill the devastating Delta-3 bacteria, he quickly discovers that his expertise is ignored, his presence meaningless. The leader of the task force is an old nemesis who sidelines Gillette.

Gillette returns home to Washington, where he watches in horror as food becomes scarce, neighbor attacks neighbor, and government collapses. With winter approaching, the capital faces anarchy and Gillette faces a choice: to stay with his family or to disobey orders and find the microbes’ antidote through clues that may not even be real.

Best-selling author R. Scott Reiss

Best-selling author R. Scott Reiss

Black Monday is an involving thriller with a timely theme. The author’s use of the present tense provides an excitement and immediacy that rapidly propel the narrative forward…Reiss includes enough solid detail to make his improbable plot seem almost realistic. He handles his complicated scientific explanations with aplomb, takes the time to focus on a variety of compelling characters, and creates a terrifying scenario that will make thoughtful readers think twice about the world’s dependence on the ultimate narcotic–oil.”~~Mostly Fiction Book Reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Black Monday


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44-D’s Book Diaries: Stephen King’s Under the Dome

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king2 copy“I tried this once before when I was a lot younger, but the project was just too big for me. But it was a terrific idea and it never entirely left my mind . . . and every now and then it would say write me, and eventually I did. I sure hope people like it.”~~Stephen King

In Stephen King’s mesmerizing new masterpiece – his biggest, most riveting novel since The Stand – a Maine town and its inhabitants are isolated from the world by an invisible, impenetrable dome.

under-the-domeOn an entirely normal, beautiful Autumn day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field – the Dome. Planes fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed at the wrist and people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town’s corrupt politician. But time, under the Dome, is running out . . .

Celebrated storyteller Stephen King returns to his roots in this tour de force featuring more than 100 characters – some heroic, some diabolical – some and a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any he’s ever conjured.

Stephen King appeared on Good Morning America this morning to discuss his new thriller, out today, “Under the Dome,” which he says can be read as a metaphor for the American condition. He had the idea for the book in the 70’s… will it be successful and relevant today?

Jake Tapper: I’m in Stephen King’s New Book? Huh?

Read an excerpt from Under the Dome



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Book Review: Lustrum by Robert Harris

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Best-Selling Author Robert Harris

Best-Selling Author Robert Harris

Times Online–In recent years, ancient Rome has provided the setting for dozens of historical crime novels. In their pages, whole posses of classical private eyes prowl the city’s mean streets. Robert Harris’s Lustrum, the second, enthralling volume in what he promises will be a trilogy set in the last decades of the Roman republic, opens with a scene that suggests this might be just another one to add to the genre. A young slave has been found murdered and eviscerated, his body dumped in the Tiber. Consul-elect Marcus Tullius Cicero is called to the scene. When he learns that the boy has been killed as a human sacrifice, it seems that Cicero might be taking on the role of a toga-clad Philip Marlowe in tracking down the murderers.

Yet it soon becomes clear that Harris has no interest in that kind of story at all. His focus instead is firmly upon the dangers and temptations of politics. Over the course of the next 400 pages, the gritty and tortuous realities of power take precedence over the contrived puzzles of crime fiction.

lustrombookcoverIt is not difficult to see why Harris was so drawn to the years between 63BC and 58BC when the novel is set (Lustrum means “five-year period” in Latin). The stakes then, in a period when the Roman republic was perpetually at risk of disintegration, were so much higher than they are now. Plunge to catastrophic defeat in modern British politics and the worst that awaits you is an early elevation to the House of Lords; failure in Roman politics could result in exile, assassination or an inescapable invitation to open your veins in a warm bath.

It is against this background of the ever­present potential for violence and death that Harris’s gripping narrative unfolds. Within a few chapters, readers learn who killed the slave and why. He was the victim of Catilina, one of Cicero’s beaten rivals for the consulship, who offered the boy up as the sacrificial seal on an oath taken by a group of decadent aristocrats to murder Cicero and take control of the state.

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Other Best-sellers by Robert Harris

pompeiicoverPompeii: A Novel by Robert Harris

Harris’s historical novel begins in August, 79 B.C., two days before the eruption of Vesuvius. The hero is Marcus Attilius Primus, an aqueduct engineer who is investigating a mysterious blockage, apparently related to recent tremors, in the aqueduct that runs from Misenum to Pompeii. In addition

Ancient wall painting in Pompeii (Photo by Audiegrl)

Ancient wall painting in Pompeii (Photo by Audiegrl)

to landing this prestigious job—it’s the Empire’s longest aqueduct—he has met a young woman who has the “same darkness of hair” and the “same voluptuousness of figure” as his dear departed first wife. The only problem is her father, a corrupt and powerful millionaire who is stealing from the water supply. Although the plot seems to owe more to “Chinatown” than to Pliny, Harris garnishes the action with seductive period detail, and the novel comes alive in the main event, a cataclysmic explosion with a thermal energy equal to a hundred thousand Hiroshimas.~~The New Yorker

imperiumbookcoverImperium : A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris

Bestselling British author Harris (Pompeii; Enigma) returns to ancient Rome for this entertaining and enlightening novel of Marcus Cicero’s rise to power. Narrated by a household slave named Tiro, who actually served as Cicero’s “confidential secretary” for 36 years, this fictional biography
Rome Coliseum            (Photo by Audiegrl)

Roman Coliseum (Photo by Audiegrl)

follows the statesman and orator from his early career as an outsider a “new man” from the provinces to his election to the consulship, Rome’s highest office, in 64 B.C. Loathed by the aristocrats, Cicero lived by his wits in a tireless quest for imperium the ultimate power of life and death and achieves “his life’s ambition” after uncovering a plot by Marcus Crassus and Julius Caesar to rig the elections and seize control of the government. Harris’s description of Rome’s labyrinthine, and sometimes deadly, political scene is fascinating and instructive. The action is relentless, and readers will be disappointed when Harris leaves Cicero at the moment of his greatest triumph. Given Cicero’s stormy consulship, his continuing opposition to Julius Caesar and his own assassination, readers can only hope a sequel is in the works. Until then, this serves as a superb first act.
~~Publishers Weekly


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