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Three unpublished J.D. Salinger stories leak online

An anonymous uploader leaked three previously unpublished J.D. Salinger stories this week. Previously only available at research libraries, the famously reclusive author’s “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” “Paula,” and “Birthday Boy” have apparently been traced to an eBay auction that ended on Sept. 23 with an astonishly low winning bid of £67.50 (or about $110). According to BuzzFeed, which first reported on the leak, Salinger expert Kenneth Slawenski has attested to the authenticity of the text.

“The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls” was previously only available at Princeton University, and the other two were held at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center. The stories appear as PDFs of a printed (and presumably illegal) booklet with all three stories, though the printer has yet to be determined.

Most fascinating of the trio is “Bowling Balls,” which was not supposed to be published until Jan. 27, 2060 (50 years after Salinger’s death), per an agreement with Princeton. A sort of prequel to Catcher in the Rye, the story was originally written for Harper’s Bazaar, and many believe it to be Salinger’s foremost unpublished work.

On the Books: First book published in U.S. sells for $14.2 million at auction; authors to appear at indie bookstores Saturday

Today’s book news includes the most expensive book ever auctioned, a preview of this Saturday’s celebration of indie bookstores, and several year-end lists highlighting the best books this year. Read on for more headlines:

The psalm book published in 1640 — the first book published in English in the U.S. — garnered $14.2 million at an auction yesterday, short of the estimated $15 to $30 million, but record-breaking nonetheless. [ABC News]

This Saturday is “Small Business Saturday,” also known as, for hundreds of authors including James Patterson, Cheryl Strayed, and Sherman Alexie, “Indie First” day. The authors have pledged to volunteer as booksellers for independent bookstores, and Wally Lamb has called for more “book nerds.” [LA Times]

Publishers Weekly named Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, along with the ABA’s board as its “Person of the Year.” [Publishers Weekly]

The Costa Award, a prize honoring “the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the U.K. and Ireland,” announced its shortlists. Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life leads the all-female shortlist for the prize’s Novel category. [The Independent]

Time for this week’s lists: The Telegraph selected its picks for the best fiction books of 2013. [The Telegraph]

…And so did Forbes — but for all books this year. [Forbes]

Not sure what books are best for the holidays? Let writers like James McBride, Mark Halperin, and Ann Martin choose for you. Check out their picks for holiday reads. [The Washington Post]

To end the day with some positive news for the print business: A survey found that young people still prefer printed books to e-books, despite their heavy exposure to the e-book market, and to devices like smartphones and tablets. [LA Times]

On the Books will return Monday, Dec. 2. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

On the Books: Amazon scrutinized over labor practices; first book published in the U.S. may break auction record

An undercover BBC reporter acquired video footage of how workers at an Amazon warehouse are treated, prompting the company to release a statement denying any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, a small book of psalms may fetch up to an estimated $30 million at an auction. Those headlines and more below:

BBC reporter Adam Littler went undercover as a worker at a U.K. Amazon warehouse and captured footage with his hidden camera of the retail giant’s questionable labor practices. But Amazon released a statement saying, “We strongly refute the charge that Amazon exploits its employees in any way. The safety of our associates is our number one priority, and we adhere to all regulations and employment law.” [BBC News]

A book of psalms that was printed in New England shortly after the voyage of the Mayflower may break the record for the most expensive text ever sold at an auction, and is expected to reach between $15-$30 million. [The Telegraph]

On a related note, The New Yorker takes a deep dive into previous auction heavyweights, including John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which sold for $11.5 million in 2010. [The New Yorker]

And even more high-priced book news: The New York Public Library bought all of Tom Wolfe’s papers for $2.15 million. [The New York Times]

We’re not done yet: The St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York’s East Village announced it will be launching a fundraiser for its move to a cheaper space. The bookstore will host an auction of signed first editions. [CBS New York]

On to the must-reads: Romesh Gunesekera published a new short story in The New Yorker titled “Roadkill.” [The New Yorker]

In an interview with The New York Times, National Book Award for fiction winner James McBride revealed he thought he had no chance against authors like Thomas Pynchon and Jhumpa Lahiri, so much so that he continued eating through the announcement. [The New York Times]

Writer Maria Popova posted her picks of the best biographies, memoirs, and history books of 2013. [Brain Pickings]

The Pacific Standard tackles the issue of fan-fiction: Can it be considered the next great genre of literature? [Pacific Standard]

On the Books: First woman held captive by Ariel Castro to publish memoir; court orders delay of Malcolm X book printing

The first woman captured by Ariel Castro has signed a book deal, while printing of The Diary of Malcolm X has been postponed. Read on for more headlines:

Weinstein Books announced it has acquired the rights to publish a memoir by Michelle Knight, the first woman Ariel Castro kidnapped and held captive, in spring 2014. According to the press release, the book will cover Knight’s early life, abduction, and present day, as well as new details about her captivity and escape. “I want to give every victim of violence a new outlook on life,” Knight said in the press release. “Victims need to know that no matter how hard it rains in the darkness, they will have the strength and courage that God gave them when they were born to rise above and overcome any obstacle that stands in their way.”

The publisher of The Diary of Malcolm X has been ordered to delay printing because the corporation representing the heirs of Malcolm X claimed the publishing house does not have rights to the diary. [Publishers Weekly]

The American Book Awards unveiled this year’s winners, including Louise Erdrich, Amanda Coplin, and D.G. Nanouk Okpik. The award honors “excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or even genre.” [AP]

Following the National Book Awards, publishers are rushing to reprint more copies of the winning books, such as  James McBride’s winning novel The Good. [Publishers Weekly]

But perhaps it’s time to reconsider what book awards are all about. Ishmael Reed argues that the honors are losing their importance. [The Wall Street Journal]

Poet Wanda Coleman, a National Book Award finalist, died Friday at 67. [LA Times]

As 2013 closes, we’ll be seeing more lists like these, ranking the best books of the year. Check out the picks from The Washington Post. [The Washington Post]

How do you write a book about boredom without making it boring? Here are three that do the trick. [NPR]

Author David Grove talks 'On Location in Blairstown: The Making of Friday the 13th'


Given the fulsome tributes which followed the recent death of Lou Reed many folks may now feel well informed about the rock icon. But did you know Reed lived right next to where director Sean Cunningham shot his horror film Friday the 13th?

“He did,” confirms author David Grove, whose new book On Location in Blairstown: The Making of Friday the 13th features this nugget of information, among many others. “They filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in Blairstown, New Jersey, and the property was owned by a man called Fred Smith. He kept talking to the crew about his neighbor, Lou. And the crew said, ‘Who’s Lou?’ And they discovered it was Lou Reed. He came by during filming and he sometimes played some music.”


On the Books: Cary Elwes to write book about 'The Princess Bride'; J.R.R. Tolkien biopic in the works


Cary Elwes is granting your wish with a book about Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride, while a previously unpublished C.S. Lewis essay has been added to a new collection of his works, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s life will be documented in a planned biopic. Read on for more of today’s top books headlines:

Actor Cary Elwes is writing a book on the making of The Princess Bride, in which he starred as Westley, to be published by Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster imprint, in fall 2014. “It was a joy to work on such a magical film with an amazing cast of talented actors and friends,” Elwes said in a press release. “It will be great fun to revisit The Princess Bride and to share my fond memories of the unforgettable experience we all had.”

C.S. Lewis’ “Image and Imagination,” an essay rescued from a fire at the Lewis family home, will be published for the first time in a collection of his essays by the Cambridge University Press. [The Guardian]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has found a home online in a project produced by Google and Warner Bros. for the release of the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to allow fans to explore and virtually tour iconic sites. [The Hobbit official site]

Speaking of Tolkien, a Hollywood biopic on the author is in the works. [The Telegraph]

Discount retailer Costco issued an apology after labeling Bibles for sale in a Southern California store as “fiction.” [LA Times]

Weird news of the day: William Nicholson, the author of Motherland, one of the nominees for the Bad Sex Award, writes that there should be a “Good Sex Award.” [The Guardian]

Salman Rushdie gave an illuminating interview to The Wall Street Journal about his perspective on social media (“a friend of mine bullied me to use it”), his new novel, and how he became a writer (“I don’t have funny habits. I think of it as a job and do it like a job”). [The Wall Street Journal]

The Canada identity: Russell Smith explores what “Canadian literature” really means, and how writers should define “Canadianness.” [The Globe and Mail]

Want more literary engagement? Here’s a roundup of must-reads by the New Yorker staff. [The New Yorker]

Shonda Rhimes lands book deal for memoir(ish) take on work and family

If you’re like me and have to watch Grey’s Anatomy with closed captions to keep up with the characters’ fast-paced emotional monologues (“Something something I’m your person something something dark and twisty something me something ME!”), you’ll love this news: Shonda Rhimes is getting a book deal!

The creator of Scandal, Grey’s, and Private Practice has inked a deal with Simon & Schuster for a book that’s being billed as “part memoir, part inspiration, part prescription.” Rhimes — a single mother of three girls — will write about building her family on the cusp of her skyrocketing Hollywood career and navigating the subsequent challenges that come from balancing those two facets of her life.

“Simon and Schuster is crazy for giving me a book deal as I am clearly in no position to be handing out wisdom,” Rhimes said in a release. “But I have made a lot of mistakes as a single mother and as a working mother and as a sleepless mother and as a dating mother. And I did all of it while running a bunch of TV shows. So I’m going to write about that and hope my kids don’t use it against me in therapy later.”

The book is due for publication in 2015.

On the Books: National Book Awards ceremony tonight; Brooke Shields to write book about mothers and daughters


The winners of the National Book Awards will be announced tonight at a ceremony that will be streamed live here starting at 6 p.m. ET. In other books news, Brooke Shields will be writing a book, while a debut novelist has landed a staggering book deal for her novel about witches. Read on for more of today’s top headlines:

Speaking of the National Book Awards, Thomas Pynchon, whose novel Bleeding Edge is nominated for the fiction prize, is rumored (not surprisingly) to not make an appearance at tonight’s ceremony. [New York Times]

And to refresh your memory about the finalists, revisit some of their pieces for The New Yorker in this slideshow. [The New Yorker]

Actress Brooke Shields will be publishing a book about mother-daughter relationships with Dutton. [LA Times]

More awards news: The Everything Store, the book about retail behemoth Amazon by Brad Stone, has been named the Business Book of the Year. [Publishers Weekly]

Mexican political journalist and novelist Elena Poniatowska has won the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious Spanish language literary award that’s also worth €125,000. [Washington Post]

Debut novelist Sally Green landed a £1 million book deal for Half Bad, a book about witches. [The Telegraph]

And lastly, children’s book author Charlotte Zolotow died Tuesday at age 98. [New York Times]

On to the must-reads: Hunger Games mastermind Suzanne Collins gave a rare, five-part interview to Time magazine about her series and the second film adaptation. [TIME]

Janet Evanovich answers five burning questions about her latest novel, how she comes up with titles, and what Stephanie Plum would do for Thanksgiving. [USA Today]

At last! Mathematician Ben Blatt has figured out a strategy to find Waldo. [Slate]

Finally, ICYMI: Demi Lovato talked to EW about writing her new book Staying Strong and the struggles she experienced in her career. [EW]

See new covers for Judy Blume's 'Forever' and 'Margaret' -- EXCLUSIVE


Judy Blume is just as relevant today as she was two decades ago, so it makes sense that Simon & Schuster is re-packaging some of her best-known titles for today’s YA set. Now a whole new generation can hide Forever from their parents. See the updated covers of Forever and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. below: READ FULL STORY

See the cover of Judy Greer's upcoming memoir -- EXCLUSIVE


Even if you only learned her name recently, you totally recognize Judy Greer. She was one of the best parts of Arrested Development, served as a trusty (or back-stabbing) best friend in popular rom-coms, showed us her dramatic side in The Descendants, and elevated many a network sitcom with her presence.

Now the onscreen best friend will make you feel like she’s your actual best friend in her upcoming book of essays, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star (out April 8, 2014). In the book, Greer will write about her trip to the Oscars, bad blind dates, Spanx, behind-the-scenes stories, and how she really feels about fans telling her she’s prettier in person.

“BUY MY BOOK! PLEASE!,” says Greer to EW. “I’m just kidding (not really). Seriously though, this book is all about my life, which is a lot like yours, especially if you’ve peed next to J. Lo.”

See the back cover, also exclusive, of the book below: READ FULL STORY

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