On the Books: Amazon updates Kindle, Fire OS; authors Karen Russell, Donald Antrim receive $625,000 MacArthur grants

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What’s Amazon’s latest for the Kindle? Who received the MacArthur “genius” grants this year? Those books headlines and more questions for you to ponder below:

Amazon announced new Kindle tablets — the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX — will begin shipping October 18. The company will also release an updated Fire OS, dubbed “Mojito,” which includes new features like Second Screen and the Mayday button. [AllThingsD]

Authors Karen Russell and Donald Antrim are among 24 MacArthur “genius” fellows, each receiving $625,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to use however they like. [NPR]

In other awards news, poet Alice Oswald won the 2013 Warwick Prize for Memorial, her retelling of Homer. [The Telegraph]

William Boyd, author of the latest James Bond novel, says Bond Girls should be called “Bond Women.” Discuss. [The Telegraph]

Also up for discussion: Do fictional characters have to be likable for us to fall in love with them? Writers Mohsin Hamid and Zoe Heller tackle the question. [New York Times]

Speaking of formerly likable fictional characters, Walter White’s Walt Whitman book from Breaking Bad is up for auction. [LA Times]

Paris Review co-founder and novelist Peter Matthiessen’s book, In Paradise, about a group of people who “come together for a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp,” will be published by Riverhead Books this spring, according to a press release.

No need to blush, romance novel readers. A study found that fans of romance novels are more sensitive, meaning they’re more capable of “reading subtle facial cues, and picking up on the emotions they express.” (And on a related note, ICYMI: E.L. James is producing a line of wines inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey.) [Pacific Standard]

Finally, are you keeping up with Banned Books Week? Join its Twitter party at noon with the hashtag #bannedbooksweek, and check out some other events on their site. [Banned Books Week]


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