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Tag: Controversy (1-10 of 87)

On the Books: Pulitzer-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies at 87

- Renowned American poet Galway Kinnell died of leukemia last week at the age of 87. Kinnell received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for 1982′s Selected Poems—as well as a MacArthur genius grant, a poet laureateship in Vermont, a chancellorship at the American Academy of Poets, and, most recently, the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement. The World War II vet, anti-Vietnam War activist, and civil rights champion infused his verse with the gritty social issues pervading the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The Los Angeles Times writes that the Kinnell is celebrated for his “forceful, spiritual takes on the outsiders and underside of contemporary life,” and how he “blended the physical and the philosophical, not shying from the most tactile and jarring details of humans and nature.” His work reflects the influence that Walt Whitman and  friend W.S. Merwin had on him. Kinnell—who also taught at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Reed College before retiring in 2011—is survived by his wife, two children from a former marriage, and two grandchildren.

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On the Books: You can now have your cookbook and eat it too

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German design firm KOREFE has reinvented the term “visual feast” with The Real Cookbook, the world’s first and only edible cookbook.

The book is made to be cooked and eaten after reading—the pages are not paper but sheets of fresh lasagna noodles, imprinted with a recipe explaining how to add fresh fillings to the book and then bake it to cheesy perfection.

The award-winning novelty was “designed as a special project for a large publishing house,” according to the KOREFE website. “The prose etched on the four inner pages of pasta toys with the idea of how important the contents of a cookery book can be,” said Antje Hedde, the head of the innovative design firm.

Just remember to bake after reading. [Design Daily]

The coalition of over 900 authors banded against Amazon known as Authors United shared a fiery new letter this week, as the book-pricing standoff between the online retail giant and publishers including Hachette continues.

The email, penned by Hachette author Douglas Preston, accuses Amazon of sanctioning over 7,000 Hachette titles, affecting 2,500 authors. “Hachette authors have seen their sales at Amazon decline at least 50%,and in many cases as much as 90%,” Preston writes. “Amazon has other negotiating tools at its disposal than harming the very authors who helped it become one of the largest retailers in the world.”

The letter also charges that Amazon has misrepresented the situation to the public, “falsely trying to depict us as ‘rich’ authors who are seeking higher e-book prices, while it is fighting on behalf of the consumer for lower prices.”

The letter was distributed to the members of Authors United—the writers who signed the open letter calling on Amazon to resolve its feud with Hachette, published as full-page New York Times ad in August. Preston closes by hinting at an eminent Authors United call-to-action: “[W]e are forced to move on to our next initiative. I will be asking you once again for the use of your good name— perhaps as soon as next week. Stay tuned.” [Publishers Weekly]

Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood is the first contributor to The Future Library project, a forward-thinking initiative started in Oslo, Norway that can best be described as a bibliological time capsule. The fiction work Atwood is currently writing will be locked away in a vault, not to be read by any human for a century.

The project—conceived by Katie Paterson, an award-winning Scottish artist—started with the planting of 1,000 trees outside Oslo this summer. “Every year until 2114, one writer will be invited to contribute a new text to the collection,” reports The Guardian, “and in 2114, the trees will be cut down to provide the paper for the texts to be printed—and, finally, read.”

Atwood, a Man Booker Prize-winning novelist, is excited to be the first on board. “I think it goes right back to that phase of our childhood when we used to bury little things in the backyard, hoping that someone would dig them up, long in the future,” she told The Guardian. 

“[W]hen you write any book you do not know who’s going to read it, and you do not know when they’re going to read it,” Atwood said. “So books, anyway, really are like the message in the bottle.” She predicts that language may evolve so much over the next century that future readers may need a paleo-anthropologist to help translate the book.

One perk of a release date set for 100 years in the future? No need to worry about the critics. “You don’t have to be around for the part when if it’s a good review the publisher takes credit for it,” Atwood said, “and if it’s a bad review it’s all your fault.”

On the Books: Soccer star Tim Howard scores book deal

American soccer star and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will release a memoir via HarperCollins on Dec. 9. According to a publisher’s statement, The Keeper will include details about both Howard’s professional career and personal life, notably his struggle with Tourette syndrome. Earlier this summer, Howard drew fanfare playing for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, saving a record 16 goals in a game against Belgium. (The U.S. lost 2-1.) The book will be published in both an adult and young-adult version. [The Guardian]

In other soccer-related book news, Zaha Hadid, the notable British-Iraqi architect who designed a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, is suing the New York Review of Books for defamation and libel. Hadid charges that architecture critic Martin Filler’s review of the book Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture, by Rowan Moore, takes her words out of context to portray her as “showing no concern” for the nearly 1,000 migrant workers who have died while constructing stadiums in Qatar—a scandal originally uncovered by The Guardian. The complaint also alleges that construction has not begun on the stadium that Hadid designed. Hadid’s lawyer, Oren Warshavsky, stated that the review, published in June, is “a personal attack disguised as a book review and has exposed Ms. Hadid to public ridicule and contempt.” Hadid is seeking a retraction and damages. [The Guardian]

Former Meet the Press host David Gregory, who was abruptly booted by NBC last week, is writing a book about his personal experience with Judaism, to be published by Simon & Schuster. “The book was never intended as a memoir about his career,” says Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp, who has been in talks with Gregory to write a book for several years. “That objective hasn’t changed and will not change,” he continued. “This book will be about the inner spiritual journey many of us take in our lives.” A release date has not yet been announced. [NPR]

 

 

 

Stephen Colbert gives Amazon the finger

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“I’m not just mad at Amazon, I’m mad prime,” said Stephen Colbert on his show last night.

That was just the first in a barrage of zingers against Amazon, which is currently in a legal battle with Colbert’s publisher Hachette Book Group over sharing profits. Colbert put Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos on blast for what many see as bullying tactics to make Hachette titles difficult to order, such as eliminating discounts and delaying shipments. “If you ordered Hachette’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, by the time it arrives, you’re still fat,” Colbert joked. The rant culminated in Colbert pulling two middle fingers out of an Amazon package and declaring, “Watch out, Bezos, because this means war.”

Joking aside, Colbert is taking real action against the corporation by encouraging readers to slap “I didn’t buy it on Amazon” stickers on books. And after plugging debut novel California by Edan Lepucki, the title shot to number one at the indie bookstore Powell’s in Portland.

Watch the video below: READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Soon you can read Tolkien's 'Beowulf'

A new book from Tolkien! HarperCollins has the rights to JRR Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, which will be published on May 22nd and edited by his son, Christopher. Tolkien translated the oldest extant poem in Old English in 1926, but never had it published. The book will feature a selection of lectures on Beowulf given by Tolkien at Oxford in the 1930’s. Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary is the first new book from Tolkien since the narrative poem “The Fall of Arthur,” which came out last year. [The Bookseller] READ FULL STORY

Touchstone cancels publication of @GSElevator book 'Straight to Hell'

Touchstone just sent out a press release saying they have cancelled publication of John LeFevre’s Straight to Hell. LeFevre was the banker behind the Twitter account for @GSElevator, which supposedly chronicled conversations overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevators. (Wolf of Wall Street-worthy quotes like: “I never give money to homeless people. I can’t reward failure in good conscience.”) On Feb 24, Dealbook outed the man behind the tweets as a Citigroup bond executive, not a Goldman Sachs employee, and a fury erupted online as people took sides — to care or not to care about his lack of genuine GS employment? LeFevre defended his twitter-scheme at Business Insider: “The issue of my anonymity was simply a device, and one that has suited the construct of the Twitter feed,” he wrote on Tuesday. “GSElevator has never been an anonymous person. It’s not a person at all. It’s the embodiment or aggregation of ‘every banker,’ a concentrated reflection of a Wall Street culture and mentality. Newsflash: GSElevator has never been about elevators. And, it’s never been specifically about Goldman Sachs; it’s about illuminating Wall Street culture in a fun and entertaining way.”

Apparently, Touchstone isn’t buying the explanation. The publisher released this statement: “In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre’s Straight to Hell, Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work.”

John le Carre talks about the spy who inspired George Smiley and corruption in Intelligence agencies

John le Carré, the most prominent spy novelist of the 20th century, wrote a letter to The Telegraph yesterday about John Bingham, the spy who inspired his character George Smiley. Le Carré has written 23 books, but his most famous novels feature the MI6 agent George Smiley (portrayed by Gary Oldman in the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.)

Before he began writing full time, John le Carré worked as an intelligence officer himself for MI5 and MI6, where he became friends with John Bingham. The late Bingham was recently featured in a Telegraph article detailing his success at neutralizing British Nazi sympathizers during WWII. Bingham was a dedicated intelligence officer who was apparently burning with British nationalism. Someone wrote a response accusing Le Carré of “disrespecting” Bingham by writing him into books that portrayed the intelligence service as fallible and corrupt.

Le Carré — who is 82 years old and showing no sign of slowing down — penned his own reply to The Telegraph and said that friendship aside, he and Bingham were of two different minds on what it means to serve your country. “Where Bingham believed that uncritical love of the Secret Services was synonymous with love of country, I came to believe that such love should be examined,” he wrote. “And that, without such vigilance, our Secret Services could in certain circumstances become as much of a peril to our democracy as their supposed enemies. John Bingham may indeed have detested this notion. I equally detest the notion that our spies are uniformly immaculate, omniscient and beyond the vulgar criticism of those who not only pay for their existence, but on occasion are taken to war on the strength of concocted intelligence.”

Interesting thoughts when you consider our current situation with rampant and seemingly unrestricted NSA surveillance…

On The Books: 'Literary Death Match' is a real thing and it's exactly what it sounds like - sort of

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A new competition is trying to drum up pop cultural fervor for contemporary authors and it has the splashy title of Literary Death Match. You really shouldn’t need anymore info than that to buy tickets. But I’ll give you details anyway. Their poster says: “4 authors, 3 judges, 2 finalists, 1 epic finale (and a bunch of really attractive lit-nerds).” I mean, done and done. Their website elaborates further, Literary Death Match “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.” So throw in Legends of the Hidden Temple obstacles and I promise to watch this and nothing else for the rest of the year. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Tolkien almost cut love story from 'Lord of the Rings'

First it was Ron and Hermione, now Aragorn and Arwen?? A previously unpublished letter reveals the tricksy W.H. Auden tried to convince J.R.R. Tolkien to axe the romance between Aragorn and Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The illuminating letter is from 1955 and penned by Tolkien, who is complaining to his publisher about the struggle to complete The Return of the King. Tolkien laments that Auden views the star-crossed subplot between the mortal king and his immortal lover as “unnecessary and perfunctory.” Wow. Shoot me straight, Auden. How do you really feel? Apparently the poet was on Team Éowyn-Faramir. Considering the level of minutia that Tolkien weaves into the historical fabric of Middle Earth, you would think LOTR could support a number of love stories. If I know the second cousin, twice-removed of every dwarf in the Shire, I think I can follow two romantic subplots. I guess Auden was a purist though. One story of true love per series. It’s good to have standards. Thank God Tolkien didn’t take his advice. [The Guardian] READ FULL STORY

Corey Feldman details Hollywood sexual abuse in his memoir 'Coreyography'

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Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim — known at the height of their popularity as “the Two Coreys” — were iconic ’80s teen stars who dealt with more adult problems behind the scenes. In his upcoming memoir Coreyography (Oct. 29), Feldman, 42, details the sexual abuse he and Haim experienced while working in Hollywood.

According to Feldman, Haim told him about an incident on the set of the 1986 film Lucas:

“Haim started to confide in me, about some intensely personal stuff, very quickly … Within hours of our first meeting, we found ourselves talking about Lucas, the film he made in the summer of 1985, the role I had wanted for myself. At some point during the filming, he explained, an adult male convinced him that its was perfectly normal for older men and younger boys in the business to have sexual relations, that it was what all the ‘guys do.’ So, they walked off to a secluded area between two trailers, during a lunch break for the cast and crew, and Haim, innocent and ambitious as he was, allowed himself to be sodomized.” READ FULL STORY

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