The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- English novelist Hilary Mantel, who has twice won the Booker Prize, is said to be taking a break from writing about Tudors to publish a short-story collection titled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. The Guardian notes, "Few clues are forthcoming from her publisher at 4th Estate. According to her editor, Nicholas Pearson, 'Where her last two novels explore how modern England was forged, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher shows us the country we have become.' " The Telegraph adds that "Mantel's publishers have not confirmed plotlines, but have said that the book features the late former prime minister as a character in 10 stories with 'contemporary settings.' "
- A new study by the Pew Research Center found that "though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans' reading habits." It adds, "Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are 'e-book only.' "
- Laura Richardson, daughter of Cold Comfort Farm author Stella Gibbons, is looking to publish two of her mother's unpublished novels, which have been lying in a drawer since her mother's death. Richardson told the Camden New Journal, "The first is called An Alpha and is about a young woman who is from the Far East. She moves to Britain and becomes a successful writer," she is quoted as saying in the newspaper. "The second is called The Yellow Houses and is a bit of a ghost story. It was about a house where spirits flourished. They were finished and I would love to see them published."
- Publisher's Weekly speaks to James Frey, the best-selling author who gained notoriety when it turned out that his memoir of addiction was not strictly true. Frey is coming out with a new young-adult novel soon, but tells PW: "I am about to finish another novel, which is a more traditional book for an adult audience. It will be the last one for a while."
- Kate Aurthur on Flowers in the Attic author V.C. Andrews: "As eerie as her books were, Andrews' tragic personal life and unlikely rise — which was not even impeded by the small matter of her death — have rendered her equally mysterious. For the first time, members of Andrews' family have agreed to be interviewed about the woman who terrified — and delighted — a generation of readers."
- Elias Muhanna contends in The New Yorker that the recent torching of a library in Tripoli, Lebanon, "prompted something that two years of suicide bombings and assassination attempts had not: a public outcry." He writes: "Within hours, civil-society groups set up a barn-raising effort to secure and catalogue the undamaged books, clean up the shop, and build new shelving. Someone launched a fundraising initiative. Book drives were organized around the country. An international courier announced that it would ship books from anywhere in the world to Lebanon to replenish Father Sarrouj's collection."