Tag Archives: authors

Book News

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The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • In an unusually metaphysical copyright case, that an American psychologist — and not Jesus Christ — is the author of a book that she said Christ dictated to her in a “waking dream.” The late Helen Schucman said she was a vessel for the words of Christ in her book A Course in Miracles, and a German Christian group called the New Christian Endeavour Academy argued that they were therefore free to put text from the book up on their website without paying for it (Jesus, apparently, does not require payment.) The U.S.-based Foundation for Inner Peace, which owns the, uh, worldly rights to the book, sued. According to The Guardian, the New Christian Endeavour Academy “argued that Schucman had not considered herself the author of the work, and referred to a 2003 ruling by a New York court that it said had put the work into the public domain.” The academy also said: “For many there is no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is the author of the course and that copyright law therefore doesn’t apply to his work.” The German court, however, ruled that the rights go to the actual writer of the book, regardless of divine inspiration.
  • Two new Flowers in the Attic novels will revisit the arsenic- and incest-laced world of the Dollanganger siblings, . Series creator V.C. Andrews died in 1986, but her estate has continued to churn out ghostwritten sequels. The novels Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth and Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger pick upthe story in present day “when 17-year-old Kristin Masterwood — a distant relative of the Dollangangers — discovers the diary in the ruins of Foxworth Hall, the Virginia house in which the Dollanganger kids were imprisoned, and his story becomes a dangerous obsession for Kristin,” according to the Reporter. The first book is set to come out in October; the second in January.
  • In one of the more unexpected literary/commercial collaborations, Jonathan Safran Foer has joined forces with Chipotle to print stories from Toni Morrison, George Saunders and other major authors on the chain’s paper cups. that he got the idea after sitting in Chipotle with nothing to read. He said Chipotle gave him complete control in choosing the text: “I selected the writers, and insofar as there was any editing, I did it. I tried to put together a somewhat eclectic group, in terms of styles. I wanted some that were essayistic, some fiction, some things that were funny, and somewhat thought provoking.” Asked whether he had any concerns about the ethics of working with Chipotle (he’s been a vocal critic of the meat industry), he said that “what interested me is 800,000 Americans of extremely diverse backgrounds having access to good writing. A lot of those people don’t have access to libraries, or bookstores. Something felt very democratic and good about this.”
  • The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has bought the archive of British author Ian McEwan. The archive includes drafts of his novels as well as “letters written to McEwan by other literary figures, including Christopher Hitchens, David Lodge, Michael Ondaatje, Harold Pinter, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith,” according to . It adds, “From 1997 onward, McEwan’s complete email correspondence is preserved as part of the archive.” Asked about the value of his archive , McEwan said, “The writer tends to forget rapidly the routes he or she discarded along the way. Sometimes the path towards a finished novel takes surprising twists. It’s rarely an even development. For example, my novel Atonement started out as a science fiction story set two or three centuries into future.”

The daily Lowdown–Books and Authors

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*Doris Pilkington Garimara, the aboriginal author who wrote of the forced separation of mixed-race aboriginal children from their families, . She was thought to be 76. Garimara’s novel Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was based on the story of her mother, one of the so-called Stolen Generation, who was taken from her family and placed in a government settlement. She escaped with two other girls and walked more than 1,000 miles through the Australian wilderness. Garimara, too, was a member of the Stolen Generation and grew up in a mission believing she had been abandoned by her mother. “[W]hile we were in the mission, again, we were continually told, you know, that the Aboriginal culture was evil … [a]nd the people who practiced it were pagans and devil worshippers,” she said in a . Reunited years later, Garimara’s mother told her the story of her escape, which became a novel and then a celebrated film.

*Author Randy Jernigan spills more than just a few personal secrets in his new publication out today. In The Road to Happiness (Creative Partners Books) Jernigan goes into greater detail about his deep depression issues while attending Brigham Young University, and how a close friend and member of the famous singing Osmond family once saved him from suicide. “My depression was just more than I could handle at the time,” Jernigan writes. “…I was in such a dark, lonely place. I didn’t want to live any more. I’m grateful that there was a friend there to talk to me and slap some sense into me.” The Road to Happiness is the first in a series of 6 essays books Jernigan will publish for Creative Partners Books.
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J K Rowling tells BBC’s Woman’s Hour this morning of the sadness she feels that her mother, who died of complications related to MS at 45, never knew of her success with her Harry Potter novels. Her mother died after suffering with an aggressive form of the disease 15 years ago; “Her death was an enormous shock to me,” Rowling tells the show’s host. Earlier this week it was also reported that her “Casual Vacancy” will be produced as a television miniseries for both HBO and the BBC.

* Michele Glazer has a poem titled in the Boston Review:
We have arrived at what we dread: the
diminution of loved ones, livid

and unmistakable lapses, quick
angers that lap at, lick at

dread: dread

that is the one certain shore.
The Best Books Coming Out This Week:
*Lisa Robinson began reporting at a time when rock journalism “was in its infancy and mostly populated by boys who had ambitions to become the next Norman Mailer,” she writes in her pleasantly gossipy memoir, There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. Her memories of some of music’s biggest legends, from Mick Jagger to Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga (whom she describes as “a cute girl in her twenties who had really good manners”), animate this book, though Robinson sometimes gets a little too misty with nostalgia.

* Francine Prose’s Lovers At the Chameleon Club, 1932 follows Lou Villars, a French lesbian racecar driver who spied for the Nazis. Told by competing narrators, the book is more a story about the unreliability of memory and storytelling than a tale about Lou. The book is flawed, mostly because of its habit of assigning ever-more elaborate identities (lesbian Nazi racecar driver, wealthy baroness who worked for the Resistance) to its characters rather than developing them as people. But it also makes a persuasive point about the ways that the authors of history have their own agendas.