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On the Books: Oprah unveils latest book club pick; more than 500 authors lobby UN over international bill of digital rights

We’ve got plenty of book news for today: Oprah chose a new title for her book club, award-winning authors around the world are protesting state surveillance, and more book deals have been announced. (A sports item even made its way into this morning’s headlines.) Read on for more:

Oprah Winfrey has announced a new Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 pick: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, about two women on a quest for freedom. “The moment I finished The Invention of Wings, I knew this had to be the next Book Club selection,” Winfrey said in the press release. “These strong female character represent the women that have shaped our history and, through Sue’s imaginative storytelling, give us a new perspective on slavery, injustice and the search for freedom.”

More than 500 authors — including Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, and Margaret Atwood — are lobbying the United Nations over an international bill of digital rights, releasing a joint statement protesting state surveillance. “A person under surveillance is on longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy,” they wrote. “WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom.” [The Guardian]

Parks/MacDonald Productions has won the movie and TV rights to the book League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, written by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainuru. PBS Frontline produced a documentary earlier this year on the investigation over football-related injuries based on the book. [Variety]

Actor Terry Crews has inked a deal for his first book Manhood with Ballantine Bantam Dell to be published May 2014. According to the press release, the book will cover Crews’ life and 25-year marriage, “including straight-talking advice for men and the women who love them.”

The winners of 2013′s Roald Dahl Funny Prize, honoring children’s books, have been announced, with Jim Smith’s I Am Still Not a Loser taking the prize in the 7-14 category, and Simon Rickerty’s Monkey Nut winning for ages six and under. [The Telegraph]

The world’s oldest romance novelist, Ida Pollock, has died at the age of 105. Pollock’s daughter said the writer, who authored more than 120 books, died Dec. 3 at a nursing home near her house in Lanreath, England. [USA Today]

Stephen King joined Twitter Friday. “My first tweet,” he posted. “No longer a virgin. Be gentle!” [Twitter]

Charles McGrath discussed what it’s like to judge the National Book Awards. [The New York Times]

Instead of delivering the traditional Nobel Lecture in Literature speech, 2013 winner Alice Munro released a video interview. [Nobelprize.org]

You’ve seen our lists for best fiction and non-fiction; now check out other critics’ picks. Did USA Today‘s Jocelyn McClurg and Bob Minzesheimer select your favorites from 2013? [USA Today]

On the Books: Maya Angelou writes poem for Nelson Mandela; Simon & Schuster launches 'Hot Bed' category

Today’s headlines feature plenty of must-reads, but one news item highlights a book published half a decade ago. Read on for more: READ FULL STORY

'The Wire' star Wendell Pierce announces Katrina-inspired book, 'What's the Good of Losing Heart Now?' -- EXCLUSIVE

For Wendell Pierce, the actor much-lauded for his roles in The Wire and Treme, the hurricane that ripped through New Orleans more than eight years ago is never far from his heart and mind.

Riverhead Books has announced exclusively to EW that Pierce, who watched as Hurricane Katrina destroyed his childhood home and neighborhood in 2005, is penning a book about the national catastrophe and the effect it had on his family, his life, his memory, and his hometown. What’s the Good of Losing Heart Now will tell the story of how the actor’s efforts to rebuild his neighborhood, Pontchartrain Park, through his art and resources, led him to reflect deeply on his roots and the life that generations of black New Orleanians before him built in the face of racism and oppression.

Pierce said of the experience that inspired him to write What’s the Good of Losing Heart Now: “What thoughts are to the individual – who am I, what have I done, where am I going – Art is to the community. Art is the place where we reflect on our strengths, our weaknesses, what we value as a people, and who we hope to become.”

On the Books: British Harry Potter box set gets makeover with new artist chosen by J.K. Rowling

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The British edition of the Harry Potter series has gotten a visual makeover for its latest complete set, Bloomsbury has announced. The new editions have been redesigned with art by Jim Kay, an artist chosen by J.K. Rowling, and The Telegraph has a look. [The Telegraph]

Following Nelson Mandela’s death, NPR revisits his books, the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom and Conversations with Myself. Among all the coverage, there are also standout pieces from The New York Times, which published an extensive interactive graphic outlining his speeches and memorable quotes, and The New Yorker, which revisited the power of Mandela’s words through verse.

The Blue Peter Book Awards has announced its 2014 shortlist. The award celebrates children’s books in fiction and non-fiction categories, with the two winning books to be announced on March 6, 2014. [The Telegraph]

On to some must-reads: New poems by John Ashbery have been published in The American Reader. [The American Reader]

Susannah Jacob examines the life of Rose Williams, Tennessee Williams’ schizophrenic sister and the inspiration for The Glass Menagerie‘s Laura Wingfield. [The Paris Review]

Megan Garber predicts birds will be the primary enemy of Amazon’s delivery drones. [The Atlantic]

USA Today has a roundup of the best cookbooks for the holidays. [USA Today]

And ICYMI: Lena Dunham interviewed Judy Blume for Believer magazine. [EW]

Lena Dunham interviews Judy Blume, 'Believer' to publish conversation in book -- EXCERPT

Lena Dunham and Judy Blume may seem like unlikely gal pals, but both have spoken in the past about their admiration for each other’s work: Dunham grew up with Blume’s novels (and even used Summer Sisters as an inspiration for her HBO show Girls), while Blume is a vocal fan of Dunham’s show.

Naturally, the duo had to meet each other and have a chat stat — and The Believer has made it happen. The magazine brought the two together for their first meeting, during which they discussed everything from the books they read as children, Blume’s tendency to make up books for book reports, and, of all things, horses.

Here’s an excerpt of their conversation, which will be published in full by Believer in a limited edition, 80-page book:

LENA DUNHAM: As a kid, what was popular? What were the books people read at school? Was it the Bobbsey Twins and Boxcar Children?
JUDY BLUME:
I never read the Bobbsey Twins or Boxcar Children, but—

Both boring.
My first favorite books were the ones in the Betsy-Tacy series. But they weren’t popular in school. I didn’t know anyone else who was reading them. I liked Nancy Drew, used my allowance to buy one every week at the Ritz Bookstore. In sixth grade I made up books to give book reports on.

You invented them?
I did.

You would report on a book that had never existed?
I did.

Were you ever caught?
Nope. I always got an A on those.

That’s incredible.
I just wasn’t interested in the kinds of books I thought I was meant to be reading. I wasn’t that interested in stories about prairie girls or horse stories. I never read a horse book in my life, but I thought that’s what my friends were reading and that’s what I should be reading—Dobbin does this and Dobbin does that.

That was the name of your series?
It was about a horse named Dobbin, yes. I made up the characters and the theme and I stood up in front of the class and I gave my report.

On the books you made up in your mind?
Yes.

That’s a literary hoax, basically.
I had never heard of a literary hoax then. Still, I knew it wasn’t right. The thing is, I was reading. I was reading from the bookshelves at home, but how could I report on those books? I tell teachers now, when I tell this story, I say, “How about just once during the school year, give your students the chance to invent books? See what they come up with.”

Did you ever say in the book report that you didn’t like it—that it wasn’t good?
I don’t think so.

That would be a whole other meta-layer.

The book, Judy Blume and Lena Dunham in Conversation, will be available for purchase by Believer subscribers only.

Penguin Books acquires Joël Dicker's international bestseller 'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair'

Penguin Books has won the rights to Swiss author Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert, the Penguin Group imprint announced today.

According to the press release, the acquisition is the biggest in the Penguin Books’ history. The book has made a splash overseas, winning three literary prizes in France, topping bestseller lists in Italy and Spain, and gaining ground at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, where the publisher of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bought the title.

Dicker’s novel centers on the disappearance of a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl, whose case attracts the attention of a young American writer, Marcus Goldman, when her body turns up in the backyard of his mentor’s home.

The thriller will be published May 27, 2014.

On the Books: Amazon finds indie booksellers make up a quarter of top Kindle Direct Publishing ebook sales

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Good news for indie booksellers: They’re making a dent in Amazon’s Top 100 ebooks sold on the Amazon Kindle. Meanwhile, Norway is making steps toward digitizing all books in the 20th century. More on those stories and other top headlines below:

Amazon revealed a quarter of the top 100 Kindle ebook sales — through Kindle Direct Publishing — in the U.S. were by self-publishing indie authors and publishers. [The Guardian]

The National Library of Norway has been digitizing every book published in Norwegian since 2006 and will finish doing so in the next two to three decades. Anyone in Norway will eventually have access to all 20th century works, including those under copyright, writes The Atlantic‘s Alexis C. Madrigal. [The Atlantic]

Writer José Esteban Muñoz, known for his studies on queer theory, gender, and sexuality, has died at age 46. [The University of Minnesota Press]

Baltimore has become “The City That Reads,” with about 160,000 children’s books being distributed free to the city’s schoolteachers this week. [Baltimore Sun]

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named sci-fi author Samuel R. Delany the grandmaster for 2013. Delany will be presented with the award at the Nebula Awards in 2014. [LA Times]

Collections of artful accidents in Google Books scans have cropped up online. Kenneth Goldsmith examines their appearances. [The New Yorker]

This year’s National Book Award winner for fiction James McBride talked how he writes, where he writes, and what he does when he’s rewriting. [The Daily Beast]

Looking for a gift for a young reader? Check out this list of holiday-friendly children’s books. [USA Today]

On the Books: Tom Clancy's 'Jack Ryan' franchise may continue; 'Catfish' host Nev Schulman lands book deal

It’s quite a Wednesday for book news — today’s top stories feature Jack Ryan, Catfish, and bad sex. Read on for more headlines: READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Norman Rockwell's family protests new biography for suggesting artist was gay; 'Gone Girl' paperback sale date announced

Members of Norman Rockwell’s family are protesting a American Mirror — a new biography of the artist by Deborah Solomon – over the book’s suggestions that he may have been secretly gay or had “pedophilic impulses.” The family members called the book “shocking” and said that Solomon’s aim for writing it was “publicity and financial gain and self-aggrandizement.” Solomon, however, said that the book is primarily about Rockwell’s work. “I feel like this is really the first book that convincingly makes the case for Rockwell’s artistic importance,” she told the New York Times, “and I would hope to keep the discussion on that subject.” [New York Times]

Random House has announced the paperback sale date for Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl: April 22, 2014, according to a press release. The novel spent 11 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list and is being adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck, who spoke with EW about working with Flynn here.

The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana started a new digitization project, which, through a $3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, plans to provide “Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts, and incunabula, or 15th-century printed books” for free through the project’s website. [Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project]

Apple’s e-book antitrust case continues to stir up drama, as the company said in a court filing that its court-appointed monitor, Michael Bromwich, charged $1,100 an hour. The complaint states that “Mr. Bromwich has already shown a proclivity to leap far beyond his mandate, and now this Court proposes amendments that would give him power to interview Apple personnel ex parte, something he will no doubt be quick to exploit.”

Authors weren’t the only ones who swarmed to indie bookstores for Small Business Saturday over the weekend. President Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, visited Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. to choose some titles off its shelves. [Sacramento Bee]

Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm died at the age of 84. Negm was best known for his revolutionary work and criticism of political leaders, spending 18 years in jail for protesting Egyptian presidents including Hosni Mubarak. [The Telegraph]

Book publisher Andrew Schiffrin died at 78 in Paris on Sunday. Schiffrin was renowned for working with authors including Jean-Paul Sartre, Marguerite Duras, and Gunter Grass. [LA Times]

Why do our brains love lists? Why do readers prefer clicking on “listicles” instead of reading long form journalism, and yet, feel guilty about it afterward? Maria Konnikova explores this head-scratcher. [The New Yorker]

Lolita may belong to Vladimir Nabokov, but did Dorothy Parker’s “Lolita,” a story published in The New Yorker three weeks before Nabokov’s novel arrived in bookstores, rip off Nabokov’s story after seeing the manuscript early? [New York Magazine]

ICYMI: Fifty Shades of Grey has added a new cast member: singer Rita Ora. Check out the photos of the cast here.

On the Books: Jennie Garth to publish memoir; Amazon to develop 'delivery drones'

And we’re back! There’s plenty of book news to catch up on from the holiday weekend, including a memoir announcement, a plan to build “delivery drones,” and more. Read on for the top headlines:

Actress Jennie Garth announced her plans to publish a memoir titled Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde, covering her time on Beverly Hills, 90210 and her life as a single mom, on April 1, 2014 through New American Library, a division of Penguin, according to the press release. “The past few years have been full of changes. Now I’m on my own with my three kids, and I just crossed that tricky invisible line into my forties,” Garth says in a statement. “Maybe because of all these things or maybe despite them, I feel like another chapter in my life is just beginning. This book is my story about where I’ve been and where I’m headed — and what I’ve learned along the way.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been everywhere in the news this year, from buying The Washington Post to battling e-book denouncers. Over the weekend, he unveiled the retail giant’s plan to develop delivery drones called “Octocopters,” which will fly packages straight to customers’ homes. See them in action in the video below. [Time]

Writer Natalya Gorbanevskaya, known for authoring pieces dissenting the Soviet Union and founding the underground magazine The Chronicle of Current Events, died Friday at age 77. [New York Times]

Thousands of copies of David Walliams’ children’s book fell into the sea during shipment, forcing HarperCollins to reprint an extra 30,000 copies. [The Telegraph]

ICYMI: Three unpublished J.D. Salinger stories leaked online via an eBay auction. [EW]

Here’s the New York Times Sunday Book Review‘s list of the 100 notable books of 2013. [New York Times]

And here’s The New Yorker‘s list of books to watch out for this month. [The New Yorker]

What happens when you have too many books? Claire Armitstead offers her tips for breaking up with your favorite titles. [The Guardian]

Another thought-provoking question: Is science fiction a dying genre? [The LA Review of Books]

Check out this fun collection of “Novelist Error Messages,” by Maggie Stiefvater.

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