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Tag: Controversy (1-10 of 83)

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

Casey Anthony paying $25,000 to avoid writing life story

Casey Anthony has agreed to pay $25,000 to her bankruptcy estate to avoid having to sell her life story.

A judge in her bankruptcy case in Tampa approved the agreement between Anthony and her bankruptcy trustee in court papers made public Wednesday.

The trustee had considered the possibility of selling Anthony’s life story to help pay off her debts to creditors. Anthony had opposed the idea, and her lawyers had argued that it would give the purchaser of the rights control over Anthony for the rest of her life.

Anthony was acquitted two years ago of murder, manslaughter and child abuse charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in Orlando. She has kept a low profile since.

Papers filed in bankruptcy court said the compromise was reached to avoid protracted litigation over whether the trustee could legally force Anthony to sell her memoirs.

The proposal to sell the rights to Anthony’s life story was “novel,” and lawyers for both sides were unable to find any precedents in case law, according to the court documents.
READ FULL STORY

Sex sells: Online retailers rake in profits with dirty e-books

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Minds might be in the gutter, but the sales of dirty e-books certainly are not. Book-selling powerhouses such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble are raking in major profits from the sleazier online titles and genres that readers can absorb behind the privacy of tablet screens.

In 2012, romance and erotica topped revenue charts with $1.4 billion in sales. However, the profit tactic has left the book retailers in one of those Fifty Shades of Grey areas. Despite the revenue benefits of the taboo genre, Amazon and B&N appear to be on the fence themselves in regards to the promotion of erotic fiction. A 2010 pedophilia guide sold on Amazon finally got pulled by the online retailer after the illicit subject matter sparked controversy. But in lieu of the book’s eventual removal from the site, Amazon released a statement shortly after defending its decision to offer the item:

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.

The economics of erotica have never been a real question: sex sells. And maybe 50 Shades of Grey is to blame—the 2011 novel featuring a naive college graduate’s relationship with a BDSM-obsessed business mogul—as it sparked a more recent wildfire-like spread of naughty fiction fascination. But the levels of provocative seem to go way beyond the bondage/dominatrix realm; Amazon keyword searches reach the furthest ends of the sexual spectrum, including pedophilia, bestiality, and incest.

Although successful sales numbers might help disputable titles avoid a ban, they do not overpower the decision-making ultimately determined by retailer representatives. Both Amazon and B&N have appeared to strip their bestseller lists of several erotica books. As an alternative, erotic novels with warranting sales can appear in the top 100 online, a B&N spokeswoman told the New York Post.

Disgraced author Jonah Lehrer sells a book detailing his 'private shame'

Simon & Schuster is willing to give a second chance to Jonah Lehrer, the best-selling author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Lehrer’s most recent book Imagine was pulled by his previous publisher Houghton Mifflin after he admitted to falsely attributing quotes to Bob Dylan. He subsequently resigned from his post at The New Yorker, where he was accused of recycling material from other publications. Despite the controversy, Simon & Schuster announced the future publication of Lehrer’s next book, tentatively titled The Book of Love.

According to a book proposal obtained by The New York Times, it appears Lehrer is actually using his public disgrace as the driving force of his next book. He wrote in the proposal, “Careers fall apart; homes fall down; we give away what we don’t want and sell what we can’t afford. … And yet, if we are lucky, such losses reveal what remains. When we are stripped of what we wanted, we see what we will always need: those people who love us, even after the fall.” READ FULL STORY

Jane Goodall's new book delayed amid alleged plagiarism scandal

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Less than a week after The Washington Post first claimed that Jane Goodall’s latest book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants, contained multiple passages that were lifted from other sources, Grand Central Publishing has postponed the book’s release.

The primatologist, who is most famous for her work with chimpanzees and the creation of the Jane Goodall Institute, wrote Seeds of Hope with freelance writer Gail Hudson. The book was originally scheduled to be released next month, before a total of 12 passages were called into question for plagiarism. Word-for-word copy appeared to be lifted from a website for Choice Organic Teas, as well as others, including several passages that appeared to be lifted from Wikipedia.

In an email to The Washington Post, Goodall issued an apology and stated that, “This was a long and well researched book, and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and want to express my sincere apologies.”

We’re not so sure we would call Wikipedia an “excellent and valuable source,” but perhaps that’s one of the many things Goodall will work on now that the book’s released has been pushed back.

Read more: 
Pick the cover of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel
Take a sneak peek at the Twilight ‘New Moon’ graphic novel — EXCLUSIVE
The British crown ‘Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop’ as weirdest book title of the year

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