April 2, 2014

Jonah Lehrer, who resigned from the New Yorker in 2012 after it was revealed that he had made up quotes, has virtuously turned down a speaking fee for a talk he’ll give this week at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. According to William Payne, head of UMD’s School of Fine Arts, Lehrer plans to discuss “the mistakes he’s made”; the talk’s moderator agrees that “no question is off the table for his entire visit.”

In the wake of a recent New York Times article about bookstores fleeing Manhattan, Dustin Kurtz considers bookstores’ role in gentrification.

Salman Rushdie with Patti Smith

Salman Rushdie with Patti Smith

Yesterday, The Paris Review announced a new issue that includes an interview with Thomas Pynchon (“being called paranoid seems preferable to any number of things a guy can be called”) and a spread of selfies by Salman Rushdie. And yes, it was an April Fool’s joke. Penguin in the U.K. was also in the prankster spirit, announcing that they would be launching a new imprint of classic books “repackaged” for today’s generation, in which all periods would be replaced by exclamation points. The new first lines of The Stranger: “Mother died today! Or yesterday, I don’t know!” And in a so-called plagiarism scandal, Lemony Snickett accuses Malcolm Gladwell of stealing ideas from his latest children’s book. Oh la, book-world hilarity.

Glenn Greenwald has been awarded the University of Georgia’s McGill Medal for journalistic excellence.

The judges for the National Book Awards have been announced. The fiction panel will include Geraldine Brooks, Sheryl Cotleur, Michael Gorra, Adam Johnson, and Lily Tuck. The nonfiction panel consists of Robert Atwan, Gretel Ehrlich, Tom Reiss, Ruth J. Simmons, and Alan Taylor. Poetry will be judged by Eileen Myles, Katie Peterson, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Robert Polito, and Paisley Rekdal. And young people’s literature will be judged by Sharon M. Draper, Starr LaTronica, Dave Shallenberger, Sherri L. Smith, and Rebecca Stead.

The New Yorker’s April books preview namechecks Leslie Jamison’s essay collection, The Empathy Exams (reviewed by Jenny Davidson in Bookforum’s current issue); Peter Matthiessen’s novel In Paradise, about a 1996 retreat at Auschwitz; and Lost and Found in Johannesburg, Mark Gevisser’s memoir of growing up gay in South Africa.

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