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On the Books: Writers remember Doris Lessing, Barbara Park; Politics & Prose joins 'Recovering The Classics' project

This weekend saw the passings of several literary greats. Read on for more of today’s top books headlines:

Doris Lessing, Nobel Prize winner and author of more than 50 books, died Sunday morning at age 94. Margaret Atwood penned a touching tribute for The Guardian here. [EW]

Children’s book author Barbara Park, best known for her Junie B. Jones books, died Friday at 66. [EW]

Finally, writer, critic, Southern literature king Louis D. Rubin died Saturday at age 89. His Algonquin Books co-founder Shannon Ravenel remembered his legacy for the News & Observer. [AP]

Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., joined the Harvard University Bookstore as the second to participate in the project “Recovering The Classics,” which allows customers to print their own versions of books in the public domain and use crowdsourced cover art. [Politics and Prose]

Buzzfeed‘s Isaac Fitzgerald declared he won’t publish negative reviews, but The New Yorker‘s Maria Bustillos argues that negativity is necessary in literary criticism. [The New Yorker]

Also from The New Yorker: Comedian/actor/writer B.J. Novak imagines the hilarious musings of the man who invented the calendar. [The New Yorker]

The new book central: Miami. Seriously. The Miami Book Fair International, now celebrating its 30th year, is “the largest and by nearly all accounts the most diverse public literary event in the United States,” writes Lizette Alvarez. [The New York Times]

On the Books: Google wins copyright battle over book-scanning program; Derek Jeter to start publishing division in Simon & Schuster

Tech giant Google is victorious, while baseball star Derek Jeter is venturing into the literary world. Read on for today’s top books headlines:

Google has won an eight-year battle with the Authors Guild over whether its book-scanning program violates copyright laws after U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled the program legal. The Authors Guild, however, says it plans to appeal. [Publishers Weekly]

Derek Jeter will be starting his own publishing division within Simon & Schuster called Jeter Publishing, which will focus on “nonfiction books for adults… children’s picture books; middle-grade fiction; and books for children who are learning to read,” according to a report by The New York Times‘ Julie Bosman. [The New York Times]

Fifty Shades of Gross: Two Belgian professors ran bacteriology and toxicology tests on the 10 most popular books kept in the Antwerp library. All 10 had traces of cocaine, but Fifty Shades of Grey tested positive for traces of the herpes virus. Eww. [TIME]

To take your mind off that story, here’s something fun: Match the mustache to the literary icon with this quiz. [Bookish]

On to the must-reads: Zadie Smith has a new essay published called “Man vs. Corpse,” which explores the meaning of the dead body. [The New York Review of Books]

Allie Brosh, the mind behind Hyperbole and a Half, gave a touching interview to NPR, in which she talks about what it’s like to battle depression — and why she draws herself as a pink tube with buggy eyes and a cone-shaped ponytail. [NPR]

Debate this: Author Terry Deary argues that giving free e-readers to the poor would be a “hell of a lot cheaper” than keeping libraries open. Agree? [The Telegraph]

Also up for debate: Adelle Waldman writes that stories about marriage remain intriguing, even if contemporary relationships have changed the meaning of marriage. [The New Yorker]

On the Books: Eleanor Catton wins top Canadian prize; Italy launches reality show for writers

For today’s book news: Eleanor Catton continues to dominate, Michael Crichton’s non-dino-related work gets a cover makeover, and Italian television producers answer the question, “Can you force a writer to produce a magnum opus in front of a live audience?” with a resounding “Yes.” Read on for more top headlines:

Eleanor Catton continues to rack up awards, winning Canada’s top book prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, for The Luminaries, which earlier won the U.K.’s Man Booker Prize. [CBC News]

Italy has launched a new reality show for writers called Masterpiece, in which authors must compete to win a book deal by participating in timed writing challenges. [The New York Times]

Michael Crichton’s John Lange novels are being reissued. The Jurassic Park writer’s early works were originally published between 1966 and 1972, and with the series’ reprinting, have received a pulpy makeover with its cover art. [USA Today]

Writer William T. Vollmann, the National Book Award winner known for giving his all to pursue stories (he once survived a land mine explosion in Bosnia and almost died while exploring the North Pole) has revealed he’s a cross-dresser with a female alter ego named Dolores. Vollmann has collected photographs and paintings of himself as Dolores in a new book, The Book of Dolores, and spoke to The New York Times about her origin story. [The New York Times]

Indie bookstores will features authors “guest-bookselling” — helping you choose among the stacks instead of doing guest reads or book signings — on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30. IndieBound has a map of participating locations. [IndieBound]

Book Country, Penguin’s online writing community and self-publishing platform, has debuted a page on Kickstarter to help crowdfund projects. [Publishers Weekly]

Gallery of the day: 12 vintage advertisements starring famous authors. Seriously — check out Robert Ludlum gripping a glass of Guinness with the tagline, “Robert Ludlum has a deep dark secret.” [Flavorwire]

And for your must-reads: The Atlantic has an excerpt from comedian Rob Delaney’s new book. [The Atlantic]

Here’s a profile of Latin American novelist Daniel Alarcón, who straddles the line between American and Peruvian culture, writing form a dual vantage point. “I think I’m an American writer writing about Latin America, and I’m a Latin American writer who happens to write in English,” he said. [The New York Times]

Over at The New Yorker, Ben Tarnoff explores the life of Mark Twain and the “monster” of his memoir, Autobiography of Mark Twain, which included three volumes and about 200 pages of endnotes, an introduction, and more. [The New Yorker]

See the cover of Charlaine Harris' new novel 'Midnight Crossroad' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Now that Charlaine Harris has driven a stake into her Sookie Stackhouse series, she’s starting over with a brand new planned trilogy. Midnight Crossroad, coming in May 2014, will kick off the series. Harris gave EW a little tease into the upcoming novel: READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Former CIA head to publish book on capture of Osama Bin Laden; infomercial host jailed for making false claims

Today’s top book news is, for lack of a better word, strange: A former CIA head’s book about the Bin Laden mission has found a publisher, while an infomercial host has been found guilty of “criminal contempt.” Read on for more headlines:

Former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael J. Morell will publish his book, The Great War Of Our Time: An Insider’s Account of the CIA’s Fight Against al Qa’ida, through Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, in Spring 2015. The book looks back at the Bush and Obama administrations’ efforts to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden. “It is important to tell this story, not only as a reminder of what our country has endured, but how we have triumphed and the serious threats we need to be mindful of and attentive to going forward,” Morell said in a press release.

In other news, Kevin Trudeau, the author and infomercial host who touted a “miracle substance” for weight loss, has been charged with violating a 2004 court order prohibiting him from making false claims with his book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About. [Reuters]

Stephanie Smith, the blogger behind “300 Sandwiches,” has landed a book deal with Random House’s new imprint, Zinc Ink. “When she told us about her romantic, passionate, and very funny quest to make her boyfriend 300 sandwiches, our first reaction was, ‘That’s a book,’” said David Zinczenko, head of Zinc Ink. [The New York Post]

T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is getting the comic book treatment courtesy of artist and illustrator Julian Peters, who posted the first nine pages of his adaptation this week. [Slate]

The latest book in Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, Diaries of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, has sold 1.3 million copies worldwide in all formats during its first week. [Publishers Weekly]

Check this out: The Brooklyn Quarterly, a new online magazine of fiction, poetry, essays, and more, unveiled its first issue last week. [The Brooklyn Quarterly]

Stephen King revealed to Agence France-Presse what scares him the most: “I’m afraid of Alzheimer’s. Declining mental ability, that scares the heck out of me.” [AFP]

Calling all votes! The Guardian is opening the floor for readers to choose the best and worst novels of the 21st century after a survey named the Harry Potter series’ fourth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the best. [The Guardian]

Just for fun: Here’s a look back on the most memorable pets in literature by author Adam Thorpe. [The Telegraph]

On the Books: Wendy Davis to release memoir; study finds more writers self-censoring

Today’s news features a memoir in the works, a study focusing on self-censoring over surveillance concerns, and literary real estate that’s worth millions. Read on for more headlines: READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Debut novel bought by Scott Rudin finds publisher for a $2 million contract

A first-time novelist struck gold with a staggering publishing deal, as well as a film in the works. Meanwhile, Malala Yousafzai’s book has unsurprisingly been banned in Pakistan, and stateside, the U.S. Postal Service worked out a deal with Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays. Read on for more book news:

Knopf has won the rights to Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel, City on Fire, for a whopping nearly $2 million. The novel, which already scored a film deal with The Social Network producer Scott Rudin, comes in at 900 pages and ignited a furious battle between dozens of publishers. [New York Times]

Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala has been banned in Pakistan’s private schools for “content which is against our country’s ideology and Islamic values,” Kashif Mirza, chairman of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, told the AFP. [NPR]

The U.S. Postal Service is partnering with Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays. The deal is limited to Los Angeles and New York, but service will expand to other cities next year.  [New York Times]

Threshold Editions announced Friday it is halting publication of Dylan Davies’ The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There, a book about last year’s attack in Benghazi, Libya, after doubts emerged about whether Davies had witnessed the raid. [AP]

J.K. Rowling says she will “never top Harry Potter” in an interview. “As far back as 2000 I knew perfectly well that I would never top Harry Potter. I knew that before the series ended,” she says. “But what do I love doing? I love writing, so clearly I’m going to continue to write.” [The Telegraph]

S.E. Hinton has been known to be private and media-averse, but the Outsiders author is on Twitter, happily tweeting her thoughts. Jon Michaud explores what it means for the author to participate in the “Twitter age.” [The New Yorker]

Publishers Weekly unveiled its list of the Best Children’s Books of 2013. [Publishers Weekly]

Here’s a no-guilt guide to putting down a bad book. [The Globe and Mail]

Literary Review unveils shortlist for 2013 Bad Sex Awards

Eat your heart out, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Literary Review revealed its shortlist for this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Awards — a prize that, as the name suggests, goes to the worst, most embarrassing literary passage about sex. Founded in 1993, the award is used “to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”

This year’s eight candidates include authors Woodie Guthrie, Matthew Reynolds, and Susan Choi, who all included unfortunately awkward-sounding sex scenes in their writings this year. The books, though devoid of pornographic literature, had enough cringe-worthy paragraphs to merit the, er, honor of being shortlisted.

Check out the full shortlist — and some (possibly NSFW) excerpts — below: READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Allison Winn Scotch to self-publish fifth novel with Jennifer Garner's production company attached to film

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EW has learned exclusively that Time of My Life author Allison Winn Scotch’s first venture into self-publishing comes with her fifth novel The Theory of Opposites, cover art above. “The book industry is constantly changing, and at this time in my professional life, I’m committed to taking greater risks,” Scotch said in a statement. “I won’t deny that it’s overwhelming to venture out on my own, away from the power of publishing houses, but the knowledge gained in being involved in every step of the process is rewarding.” The book, about a woman’s journey to end her self-doubt by taking a two-month break from her husband and finding herself, has also been picked up by Jennifer Garner’s production company Vandalia Films to produce a film adaptation, according to a press release.

Read on for more top books headlines: READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Indie bookstores reject Amazon Kindle exchange program

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Amazon’s latest effort to push Kindles through indie bookstores has not been well-received. Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is in full swing, with a new take by grammar site Grammarly. Read on for more of today’s top books headlines: READ FULL STORY

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