"Universal Studio Monsters'" (Universe) arrives just in time for Halloween. It's a luxurious coffee-table book about the Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a few other classic monsters that were devised or most famously brought to fruition by Universal.
Booker Prize Boost: Last week, Hilary Mantel was a critically praised but commercially lukewarm novelist, whose Tudor corridors-of-power saga "Wolf Hall" was receiving rave reviews for its vivid depiction of 16th-century England.
Then she won the Booker Prize, the career-changing literary award that attracts attention from bookies and bookstores alike. Overnight, she shot up best-seller lists in Britain and the United States.
Now, says a bemused Mantel, "I'm chasing Sarah Palin on Amazon."
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The $82,000 prize is a huge boost for a book that turns the historical figure of Thomas Cromwell - Henry VIII's shadowy political fixer - into a compelling, complex literary hero. Cromwell was an architect of the Reformation who helped the king realize his desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. The Vatican's refusal to annul Henry's first marriage led the monarch to reject the authority of the pope and install himself as head of the Church of England.
Henry's reign has inspired fictional treatments from the acclaimed play and film "A Man for All Seasons" to the soapy TV series "The Tudors." It's a dramatic era that saw England transformed from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant nation, from medieval kingdom to emerging modern state.
"It's one of those periods of history that is so good you couldn't make it up, really," Mantel said.
- The Associated Press
Delicious scandal: In the last few months, Gerald Posner has appeared on Fox News, Air America, BBC and countless other media outlets. The topics: Ted Kennedy, Afghan terrorists and the death of Michael Jackson.
The 55-year-old investigative reporter, who has written about topics ranging from the Saudi royal family to Motown to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., has turned his laserlike focus on a deliciously scandalous subject right outside the front door of his condo: Miami Beach.
In "Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth and Power - a Dispatch From the Beach," which was released Tuesday by Simon & Schuster, Posner traces the history of the so-called American Riviera from its swampland past to its overbuilt present.
In "Miami Babylon," Posner doesn't shy away from the scofflaws and how rampant land speculation over the years fueled several building booms in Miami Beach. But he adds a South Florida twist of drugs, celebrities and sex.
"This is a land of total reinvention," Posner said, as he sat in a coffee cafe around the corner from his home. "The Beach has its own personality. It's a fake city built out of nothing."
- The Associated Press