The daily lowdown on books, publishing and the occasional author behaving badly.
A Hunger Games-themed summer camp that culminates in a tournament at which children fight to the "death" (not literally, of course) has opened in Florida. The camp hosted by the Country Day School in Largo is inspired by Suzanne Collins' popular novel in which officials in the brutal and repressive "Capitol" force young people from the nation's 12 districts to kill one another in a televised tournament. Tampa Bay Timesstaff writer Lisa Gartner reported from the camp that in response to concerns that "killing" sounded too violent, the camp now refers to it as "collecting lives." Fortunately, the campers use captured flags instead of deadly weapons.
A previously unpublished short story by Stieg Larsson will come out early next year in an anthology of Swedish crime writers, Grove Atlantic's Mysterious Press announced Tuesday. Larsson, who died in 2004 and was the author of the hugely popularGirl with the Dragon Tattoo,wrote the story when he was only 17.
In an email exchange, writers Jess Walter and Sherman Alexie discuss art, identity and Alexie's truly magnificent mullet. Alexie writes, "Looking at my hair through a slightly more serious lens, I think I wore such an exaggerated mullet as a means of aggressively declaring my Indian identity. And my class identity. ... My mullet was an insecurity shield. My mullet was an ethnic hatchet. My mullet was an arrow on fire. My mullet said to the literary world, 'Hello, you privileged prep-school [expletive]s, I'm here to steal your thunder, lightning, and book sales.' "
We reported last week that the activist who successfully campaigned for Jane Austen to become the new face of the 10-pound note was swamped with hundreds of death and rape threats. In The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead argues that the seemingly staid author was actually subversive: "If it is possible to be shunned and abhorred for championing the celebration of Jane Austen, it serves as a reminder that her power to upset, and to challenge — which is the power of art — has not been entirely leached from her achievement, even among the welter of Austen-inspired etiquette books and I [heart] Mr. Darcy tote bags."
In the midst of all the recent eulogizing of Barnes & Noble, Boris Kachka reminds us that, until recently, the big bookstore chain seemed like the enemy: "In the few weeks since Barnes & Noble announced the resignation of CEO William Lynch on the heels of huge losses in its digital division, the media coverage has ranged from alarm bells to death knells, but most of it has been strikingly elegiac for a company so recently reviled as a monopolizing monster."
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