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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 30, 2018 1:00 am

Book briefs

'Figures' subject to share life's story

Retired NASA mathematician Katharine Johnson, who turned 100 last summer, has waited long enough to tell her own story.

Johnson's “Reaching for the Moon” is an autobiography for middle graders that will be published next fall, Atheneum Books for Young Readers announced. Johnson was one of the pioneering black women featured in the book and film “Hidden Figures,” in which she was played by Taraji P. Henson. Johnson and her colleagues were vital in helping NASA successfully launch flights into space, and eventually to the moon, in the 1960s.

Johnson said in a statement that she wanted young people to believe they could do anything, no matter their race or gender. “I knew who I was and what I was capable of,” she said.

Best-seller's text is all Trump quotes

For Stephen Colbert and his “Late Show” staff, the best-selling spoof “Whose Boat Is This Boat?” essentially wrote itself.

Because all of the words are by President Donald Trump.

Colbert said during a recent interview with The Associated Press that the book's title and contents were inspired by Trump's disjointed response last September to Hurricane Florence, which struck the Carolinas. The CBS television host grew up in South Carolina.

“Whose Boat Is This Boat?” has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and raised more than $1.25 million for hurricane relief.

Walker defends praise of author

Alice Walker is defending her praise of a British author widely condemned as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist.

Walker, best known for her novel “The Color Purple,” wrote on her blog that David Icke's work was “very important to humanity's conversation,” and disputed allegations of his anti-Semitism. She also tied the “smear” of Icke, and herself, to her protests against Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Many criticized Walker after she cited Icke's “And the Truth Shall Set You Free” as a favorite book during a recent New York Times interview.

Icke has promoted the fraudulent, anti-Semitic “The Protocols of Zion” and has blamed “a small Jewish clique” for helping start World War I and World War II. He has also said the world has been infiltrated by alien reptiles.