Jon Krakauer, best-selling author of "Into Thin Air" and "Into the Wild" (No. 44 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list), takes on the story of Pat Tillman in his next book of narrative non-fiction, "The Hero", to be published in October by Doubleday. Tillman walked away from the NFL after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan, where he died in a controversial friendly-fire incident. Krakauer's desire to write about Tillman reflects "the fascination he has with extreme people, who push themselves to the very limits of their capabilities," says Doubleday's David Drake. Krakauer did extensive research in Afghanistan and had access to Tillman's diaries, letters and family members. "The Hero" will have a first printing of 500,000 copies. Meanwhile, Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, has written an account of her son, Boots on the Ground by Dusk, due in May.
Fans of "House of Sand and Fog", an Oprah Book Club pick that became an acclaimed movie, have waited nine years for a new novel from Andre Dubus III. He returns in June with "The Garden of Last Days" (W.W. Norton), which both he and his editor somewhat reluctantly describe as a 9/11 novel. At a lunch this week in New York, Dubus said he used a Guggenheim grant to help fund his research, which entailed visiting strip clubs in Florida. The hijackers went to such a club days before the attacks. Dubus says the novel began with an image: "All I could see was cash on a bedroom bureau." He thought about the stripper who had entertained the hijacker. And then he had to inhabit the mind of his terrorist character. "I do not for a second sympathize with him," Dubus says. "But in order to be him, I had to empathize with him."
In 2002, Oprah Winfrey listed Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" as one of her favorite things. "I keep this book at my bedside," she says. "I think it's essential spiritual teaching. It's one of the most valuable books I've ever read." On Jan. 30, Winfrey picked Tolle's 2005 title "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" (Plume, $14) for her book club. This week "Earth" ascends to No. 1 on USA TODAY's list. ("The Power of Now" is No. 48.) Before Winfrey's endorsement, 164,000 copies of "Earth" were in print; now there are 3.1 million. Tolle was born in Germany and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His philosophy: If people can tame their egos, a more harmonious world will ensue. On March 3, Winfrey and Tolle will begin hosting a 10-week seminar online.