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Sloan Foundation programmer to receive honorary book award

If you're a fan of "Hidden Figures" and Margot Lee Shetterly's story of three black female mathematicians' contributions to the space program, you should thank in part the efforts of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

"We made a grant to Margot Lee Shetterly when she was unknown," said Doron Weber, a vice president and program director at the foundation and a winner this year of an honorary National Book Award. "First I had to find out if it was true, because it was such an amazing story. And the question after that was whether she had the chops to do it because she had never done a book before. She did, and she wrote a beautiful book."

On Tuesday, the National Book Foundation announced that Weber will be presented the Literarian Award during the National Books Award ceremony and benefit dinner on Nov. 14. The prize, to be presented by Shetterly, is given for "outstanding service to the American literary community." Previous recipients include Maya Angelou, James Patterson and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

"At the National Book Foundation, we believe that the scope of literature is expansive; that it can and should open up entirely new worlds to its readers," Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, said in a statement. "Doron Weber is that principle in action. Firmly committed to the marriage of science and art, Weber has spent his career working to meet readers where they are, connecting them in creative ways to new ideas and modes of thinking."

Shetterly said in a statement that Weber was an "early and enthusiastic supporter" of "Hidden Figures" and praised the award as a "chance to shine a light on his work and to thank him and the Sloan Foundation for ensuring that science remains a part of our public life and our national conversation."

The Sloan Foundation was established in 1934 and is known for its support of education and science research. But for decades it has provided grants to a wide range of nonfiction titles through the program Weber oversees, the Public Understanding of Science, Technology and Economics, which has a mission to "bridge the 'two cultures' of science and the humanities to educate and engage the public."

In 2004, the Sloan Foundation received the National Science Board's Public Service Award "for its innovative use of traditional media — books, radio, public television — and its pioneering efforts in theater and commercial television and films to advance public understanding of science and technology."

Besides "Hidden Figures," the basis for the acclaimed film of the same name, books supported by the foundation include Dava Sobel's best-selling "Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love," Richard Rhodes' "Energy: A Human History" and Max Boot's "War Made New." The Sloan Foundation also has backed movies such as "The Man Who Knew Infinity" and "The Imitation Game" and theatrical productions such as Michael Frayn's "Copenhagen" and David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Proof."

On Tuesday, the foundation praised the 63-year-old Weber for his "commitment to the accessibility of scientific histories and information, ensuring the availability of in-depth, significant stories that are intelligible to a broad readership."

During a recent telephone interview with The Associated Press, Weber said grants usually average around $50,000. He is an author himself, of the memoir of "Immortal Bird: A Family Memoir," and says books are essential as resources and as "springboards."

"Books are the place where the deepest kind of work is done," he said. "They uncover new knowledge and information and people can use that to develop into documentaries, plays, films and all kinds of other forms."

New dates being added for Bob Seger's final concert tour

New dates are being added as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band prepare for what they say is their final tour.

Promoters announced Tuesday that tickets will go on sale Sept. 28 for shows in Dallas; Houston; Cleveland; Buffalo, New York; New York City; Louisville, Kentucky; Peoria, Illinois; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Additional shows will be announced in the coming weeks for Las Vegas, San Diego and other cities.

The Travelin' Man tour begins on Nov. 21 in Grand Rapids.

Hits by Seger, a 72-year-old Michigan native, include "Night Moves," ''Old Time Rock and Roll" and "Against the Wind."

Former FBI official Andrew McCabe has book deal

Just months after the publication of James Comey's "A Higher Loyalty," another former FBI official will take on President Donald Trump.

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director ousted this year amid repeated attacks from Trump and a critical Justice Department report, has a book deal. St. Martin's Press announced Tuesday that "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump" will come out Dec. 4.

St. Martin's is calling the book a candid account of his career and defense of the FBI's independence. According to the publisher, McCabe will describe "a series of troubling, contradictory, and often bizarre conversations" with Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the "actions of this President and his administration undermine the FBI and the entire intelligence community" and threaten the general public.

"I wrote this book because the president's attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole," McCabe said in a statement issued through St. Martin's. "He is undermining America's safety and security, and eroding public confidence in its institutions. His attacks on the most crucial institutions of government, and on the professionals who serve within them, should make every American stand up and take notice."

With the bureau, McCabe had worked on everything from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the Boston Marathon bombing. "The Threat" is likely to draw comparisons to "A Higher Loyalty," the best-seller by Comey, whom Trump fired in 2017. Both books come from divisions of Macmillan.

McCabe had been with the FBI for more than 20 years when Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him in March, just before McCabe's planned retirement. His ouster came as a report from the Department of Justice's inspector general faulted him for misleading investigators looking in to the leak of information for a 2016 Wall Street Journal story about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe denied the charges.

Meanwhile, Trump had accused him of bias against Republicans because McCabe's wife had accepted campaign contributions from the political action committee of then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, during a failed state Senate run.

The Republican president also was angered that the FBI was investigating his campaign's ties to Russia and that it did not bring criminal charges against his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while secretary of state.

After McCabe was fired, Trump tweeted "Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."

He has since threatened to revoke McCabe's security clearance, and this week directed the Justice Department to publicly release some of his text messages related to the Russia probe.

New Charles Krauthammer anthology coming Dec. 4

A retrospective of the late Charles Krauthammer's speeches and writings will come out Dec. 4.

Crown Forum announced Tuesday that "The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors" will include both political and personal thoughts and an introduction from his son, Daniel Krauthammer, with whom the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist had been working on the new book at the time of his death.

A leading conservative voice for decades, Charles Krauthammer died June 21 after a battle with cancer. He was 68. A previous collection of his work, "Things That Matter," came out in 2013 and sold more than 1 million copies.

"In this book, as in 'Things That Matter,' my father applied his worldview to a breathtaking range of subjects: not just foreign policy, not just domestic, not just social issues, not just issues of art and taste. To everything," Daniel Krauthammer writes in the introduction. "And all of it animated by common principles that give it both enlightening reason and moving beauty. His writing broadens one's thinking and stirs the emotions and shows their essential connection. That is why I think his books will last far beyond the immediacy of today's politics ... and I believe his words will continue to push the world in a better direction for ages to come."

Charles Krauthammer was a longtime Washington, D.C., resident and columnist for The Washington Post. For "The Point of It All," Krauthammer was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients have ranged from former President Barack Obama to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Offerman to narrate literary audiobook 'Twain's Feast'

An upcoming audiobook about Mark Twain offers food for thought, and some thoughts for food.

Nick Offerman will narrate "Twain's Feast," a look at Twain's life through the food he loved.

The producer and distributor Audible Inc. announced Tuesday that the book comes out Nov. 2.

Audible is calling "Twain's Feast" a "surprising culinary and ecological history" of the country.

Offerman, who teamed with writer Andrew Beahrs, has worked on Twain projects before.

He has narrated audio editions of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump Jr., debunks hurricane meme

Atlanta-based CNN is often dismissed as "fake news" by President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Seeking to prove their point, some right-wing meme creators found a photo of Anderson Cooper in waist-deep floodwater, claiming he was exaggerating and staging shots during Hurricane Florence. 

>> On Florence's aftermath: The latest updates from the Carolinas

But the photo was from 2008 during Hurricane Ike in Texas, and Cooper was demonstrating the dangers of shifting depths of floodwaters. 

Cooper decided to address the issue in a nine-minute segment on his show Monday in part because the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., used the meme as fodder to malign CNN on Twitter.

While many people on Twitter used the images and tied them to Florence, Trump Jr. merely implied that this was fakery and designed to make his dad “look bad.” 

Cooper took umbrage to that, shading Trump Jr. by showing photos of him being an “outdoorsman” killing exotic wildlife but presuming he wasn’t in North Carolina helping in rescue efforts. 

>> Read more trending news 

Cooper then showed the 10-year-old video of himself in waist-deep water in a flooded area of Bridge City, Texas. He was demonstrating the various depths of water in a very small area. At one point, he even made fun of himself for doing this, but added that he didn’t want to be on the dry part of the road interfering with rescue operations. Cooper said he also wanted to show that water can go deep very quickly even just a few feet off a road, and many people die in hurricanes via drowning.

Cooper noted that his camera crew has to shoot on dry spots to keep the equipment from getting wet. And the tech person in the photo? He died last year, Cooper said. 

Bollywood star's statue symbolizes India's changing mores

Bollywood actress and former porn star Sunny Leone appeared in New Delhi on Tuesday for the unveiling of her wax likeness at the city's Madame Tussauds museum, a symbol of changing cultural mores in a country where arranged marriages remain common and celebrity kisses in public constitute front-page news.

The statue represents the Canadian-born, Indian-American actress and entrepreneur's acceptance by mainstream Indian society even as conservative Indian politicians condemn her porn-star past.

Born Karenjit Kaur Vohra to a Sikh Punjabi family, Leone, 37, made a name for herself in the porn industry before breaking into Bollywood in 2012, starring in the sequel to the hit movie "Jism," Hindi for "body."

A string of movies, a documentary and a Netflix biopic have garnered her huge audiences — even as critics have panned her acting abilities.

For years, Leone has been India's most Googled entertainer. With the statue, Leone joins the pantheon of Indian celebrities — including Bollywood stars Madhubala and Katrina Kaif, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — immortalized in wax.

Leone's rise in India has not been without controversy.

In 2011, Anurag Thakur, head of the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, now India's ruling party, and a member of India's Parliament, sought to censure a TV channel that ran a reality-TV show featuring Leone.

Thakur argued that an adult-entertainment star's appearance on the show would have a "negative impact on the mindset of children."

In 2015, India's Community Party leader Atul Kumar Anjan decried a condom ad featuring Leone as "disgusting and dirty," and said it promoted sex and could lead to a rise in rape cases in India.

An antagonistic interview with Bhupendra Chaubey of CNN News18 inspired a firestorm in the Indian press and on social media.

In the interview, Chaubey asked whether Leone regretted working in the porn industry, and whether she was aware that Indian housewives worried she would steal their husbands.

Chaubey said some found Leone "completely antithetical to what we perceive as the ideal of an Indian woman."

While some viewers lambasted Chaubey for sexism, Indian author and marketing maven Suhel Seth tweeted that it was "a mirror unto us! How many people before this interview were willing to be by her side?"

"I don't see myself the way other people see me," Leone said in a news conference Tuesday, adding that the statue stood for "women speaking up and women doing what they're passionate about."

Another rebel yell: Billy Idol returning for Vegas residency

A rebel yell will be heard again in Las Vegas.

Palms Casino Resort and Live Nation on Tuesday have announced Billy Idol is returning for his second residency at the Pearl Concert Theater. The 62-year-old, known for such hits as "Rebel Yell," ''Dancing with Myself" and "Mony Mony," will be joined by his longtime guitarist Steve Stevens for the 10-show run in 2019.

Idol will play five dates in January and five dates in October. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Idol's new disc, "Vital Idol: Revitalized," featuring remixes of his classic hits, will be released Sept. 28.

Steve McQueen to create portrait of London schoolchildren

Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen is planning an ambitious project to take a portrait of every third-year pupil in London — tens of thousands in all.

The "12 Years a Slave" director will oversee a team of photographers taking class photos at all of London's 2,400 primary schools over the next nine months.

Tate Britain, which co-commissioned the work, said Tuesday that the project would capture a moment of "excitement, anxiety and hope" in the lives of the Year 3 children, who are 7 and 8 years old.

The work will be displayed at Tate Britain and other venues in London starting in November 2019.

London-born McQueen won art's prestigious Turner Prize in 1999 before launching a movie career. His latest film is the heist thriller "Widows," starring Viola Davis.

Glad company: Trailer for Disney's 'Mary Poppins Returns'

A beloved nanny is preparing to take to the rooftops of London with her magical bag in time for Christmas.

Disney on Monday released a trailer for "Mary Poppins Returns." The musical sequel stars Emily Blunt in the role made famous by Julie Andrews in 1964.

Mary Poppins returns to Cherry Tree Lane to help the next generation of the Banks family through a personal loss.

Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her lamplighter friend, Jack.

Dick Van Dyke, who starred in the original film, appears as the retired chairman of the bank. Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury also are featured in the movie, which is based on PL Travers' stories.

Rob Marshall directs the film, which includes new original songs.

"Mary Poppins Returns" opens in theaters Dec. 19.


This story has been updated to correct the name of the street in the movie to Cherry Tree Lane, instead of Cherry Lane.

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