- - Sunday, March 18, 2012

If James Patterson thought it were possible, he would shake the hand of every U.S. soldier. For now, he’ll let a big bundle of his novels do the talking.

The popular author is donating 200,000 copies of his work to the U.S. Armed Forces, continuing a tradition he started in 2006. Through such charitable organizations as Operation Gratitude and Books for Heroes, 20,000 cartons of books - 10 books per carton - are being shipped and distributed worldwide.

Mr. Patterson, among the world’s most prolific and popular writers, told the Associated Press he doesn’t think the soldiers get “the appreciation they deserve.” His gift to the military will include his books “Tick Tock,” “The Postcard Killers” and other favorites.

“The gratitude you get is unbelievable,” Mr. Patterson said. “You get it from soldiers. You get it from families of soldiers. They’ll tell you that their son or daughter is reading my work. That’s really cool. That’s very touching.”

Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend makes deal for memoir

Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend will be the first to tell about the Italian murder case that made them famous worldwide.

Twenty-seven-year-old Raffaele Sollecito has a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books for a book scheduled to come out this fall, the Associated Press reports. Ms. Knox’s memoir is due next year.

The publisher announced Thursday that “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” would cover his relationship with the American exchange student, their arrests and imprisonment in Italy over the death of Ms. Knox’s roommate, and their eventual release last fall after the convictions were overturned.

“Sollecito was an unwilling participant in a case that riveted the world. The Italian media convicted the young couple before any evidence had even been heard,” a release from Gallery said. “Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.

“In ‘Presumed Guilty,’ Sollecito will finally tell his side of the story - from his first meeting with Amanda Knox, to his arrest, prison time, subsequent release, and current relationship with the woman he stood by through the worst ordeal of both their lives.”

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Last month, Ms. Knox agreed to terms with HarperCollins on a deal worth $4 million. While numerous publishers bid on the Knox book, the deal for Mr. Sollecito’s memoir was reached after Gallery made a “pre-emptive” offer to literary agent Sharlene Martin.

Gallery spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson said Mr. Sollecito would collaborate on the book with Andrew Gumbel, an award-winning British journalist and author whose books include “Steal This Vote” and the upcoming “Oklahoma City,” about the 1995 bombing.

Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito originally were found guilty for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British student who shared an apartment with Ms. Knox in the university town of Perugia. They were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years in prison, respectively. An appeals court ruled in October 2011 that the evidence didn’t hold up. Ms. Knox returned home to Seattle; Mr. Sollecito lives in Italy.

Rihanna: Collaboration with Brown ‘made sense’

People have been scratching their heads over Rihanna’s musical collaboration with Chris Brown, but she said it “made sense” and it’s “innocent.”

Mr. Brown appears on a remix of her song “Birthday Cake” and she appears on a remix of his “Turn Up the Music.” Their music union is noteworthy because Mr. Brown beat up Rihanna three years ago and is still on probation for the assault.

According to the Associated Press, Rihanna said it was her idea for Mr. Brown to appear on her song because he’s “the hottest R&B artist” right now. He then asked her to be on his song.

She said the partnership allowed fans to come together, adding: “There shouldn’t be a divide. … It’s music, and it’s innocent.”

She made the comments to Ryan Seacrest on his radio show on KIIS-FM in Los Angeles.

Book leads Richards, Jagger to patch up differences

We all need someone to lean on, and the founding duo of the Rolling Stones say they’re doing just that after overcoming three decades of misunderstandings with a year of some heavy conversation.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards said they rebuilt their friendship after guitarist Richards’ best-selling 2011 memoir, “Life,” laid bare his pent-up frustration with the frontman.

“In the 1980s, for instance, Keith and I were not communicating very well,” Mr. Jagger told the magazine, which celebrates the band’s 50th anniversary in its current issue, Agence France-Presse reports.

“I got very involved with the business side of the Stones, mainly because I felt no one else was interested - but it’s plain now from the book that Keith felt excluded, which is a pity. Time I reckon to move on.”

“Mick’s right,” said Mr. Richards, the other half of the so-called Glimmer Twins. The pair co-founded the Stones in 1962 after they met in a London train station and discovered their mutual love for American blues music.

“He and I have had conversations over the last year of a kind we have not had for an extremely long time and that has been incredibly important to me,” Mr. Richards said.

“As far as the book goes, it was my story and it was very raw, as I meant it to be - but I know that some parts of it and some of the publicity really offended Mick and I regret that.”

Rolling Stone reported earlier this week that the Stones are planning no concert tour for its 50th anniversary, although it quoted Mr. Richards as suggesting that 2013 was a “more realistic” target for hitting the road.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.



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