Murakami's new book unveiled in Japan
Haruki Murakami's first collection of short stories in nine years hit the shelves in Japan on Friday with some excited fans queuing for the midnight launch. Around 70 fans took part in a countdown ceremony at Kinokuniya bookstore in Tokyo's entertainment and shopping district of Shinjuku, where firecrackers were set off as the clock ticked to the witching hour. "Murakami is definitely best known for his (long) novels but reading short stories is a different kind of pleasure," Yoichi Shindo, a web designer, said after buying a copy at the bookstore. Publisher Bungei Shunju has already raised the first shipment of the book to 300,000 copies from 200,000 due to heavier-than-expected advance orders for the first compilation since 2005, local media said.
Four more 'Walking Dead' books greenlit by Kirkman
'Million Orchid' project to revive native Florida flowers
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Inside a small bright lab, nestled behind sprawling Banyan trees in Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, scientists and volunteers tend to tens of thousands of just-germinated orchids tucked in glass bottles. In the coming weeks, crews in bucket trucks, usually used to fix power lines, will lift the fragile plants onto trees that line south Florida's roads, hoping they will take root and re-establish the blanket of millions of brightly colored flowers that once covered the state. "We want to bring back not just the orchids, but the insects that pollinate them," said Carl Lewis, who leads the Million Orchid Project as director of the botanic garden. Florida's obsession with orchids, particularly rare species, was detailed in journalist Susan Orlean's 1998 book, "The Orchid Thief," which was about the arrest of a man and a group of Seminole Indians who poached the rare Ghost Orchid in hopes of cloning it for profit.
Final book in 'Divergent' trilogy to be split into two films
The final book in the "Divergent" trilogy will be split into two movies, Lions Gate said on Friday, following the same formula the studio used for the upcoming final installments of "The Hunger Games" series. "Divergent," a dystopian thriller based on the young adult book series by author Veronica Roth, stars Shailene Woodley and was released last month, grossing $116.6 million so far at the U.S. box office. Lions Gate will release the final two installments of "The Hunger Games" franchise, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" starring Jennifer Lawrence, in November, followed by the second part in November 2015. "The Hunger Games" series has so far grossed $1.5 billion in global ticket sales.
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies aged 68: son
Sue Townsend, the British author responsible for the multi-million selling Adrian Mole series documenting the hum-drum life of an awkward teenager, has died aged 68, her son told the BBC on Friday. According to the broadcaster, her son Danny Townsend confirmed that the novelist had died at home on Thursday after a short illness. After writing a series of well-received plays, Sue Townsend was catapulted to mainstream fame when she released "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾" in 1982. Within three years, the book had sold close to two million copies and was followed in 1984 by "The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole", which helped her to become Britain's top-selling author of the 1980s.
Bernstein in letters - gifted, gay and loved by his wife
By Michael Roddy LONDON (Reuters) - It may be one of the saddest but most loving letters written by a woman to a man - Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre telling her future husband, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, she knows he is homosexual but wants to marry him anyway. The letter, in which Montealegre says "you are a homosexual and you may never change", is among hundreds in a recent volume "The Letters of Leonard Bernstein" edited by English music scholar Nigel Simeone, who previously wrote a book about Bernstein's famed Broadway musical "West Side Story". For the volume of letters, 650 of them in a book of almost that many pages, Simeone said he had sifted through some 10,000 in the U.S. Library of Congress written by the prolific Bernstein, with missives dating from his youth until his death in October 1990, and from his correspondents. "I ended up with what I thought had something to say about him, about his music or his career or his family that were of interest." The resulting volume contains letters to and from many of the big names in music of the past century, including the composer Aaron Copland, who was an early influence, conductor Serge Koussevitsky, who helped give him a start as a conductor, and the composer David Diamond, who was a close friend.
New Hillary Clinton memoir set for June 10 release
Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state who is contemplating a second run for the White House, will release a new memoir on June 10, her publisher announced Wednesday. A website owned by Simon & Schuster was allowing users to sign up and pre-order the book, which the publisher said would consist of "candid reflections about key moments during her time as secretary of state as well as her thoughts about how to navigate the challenges of the 21st century." But at an event on Tuesday Clinton made the rare public admission that she was considering it, noting she was "deeply honored" that people were urging her to seek the presidency. Clinton's previous autobiography, "Living History," about her time as first lady to then-president Bill Clinton, became a worldwide bestseller in 2003.
Paddington Bear book to pave way for 2014 movie
Paddington Bear is on the comeback trail, with a new book due in November and taking the form of letters sent from the London-living teddy to his Aunt Lucy back in Peru. "Love from Paddington" is written by series creator Michael Bond, who authored 18 Paddington Bear books between 1958 and 1988 and a further six this century. And though numerous Paddington stories have been told since his first outing, "Love from Paddington" acts as an origin story of sorts, with the traveling children's character recounting his first adventures in the UK capital. That December 12 release, "Paddington," will see Colin Firth installed as the voice of the Peruvian wonderer, with Nicole Kidman his nemesis, the evil taxidermist Millicent.
Dublin's gritty Northside feted in tour of poetry, song
By Michael Roddy DUBLIN (Reuters) - Not many city tours start off at what once was one of Europe's most notorious red-light districts, then pass by a former sweat-shop laundry run by the Catholic Church, but all that and more fits in to a sightseeing jaunt on Dublin's gritty Northside. The Five Lamps Festival bus tour gave a Northsider's eye view of an Irish capital that has had its ups and downs but has always celebrated itself in song and poetry - in this case poems collected in a new volume called "If Ever You Go". "It's a different look at Dublin," said Roisin Lonergan, who organised the one-off tour on Sunday that used one of the screaming-green "Paddywagon" tourist buses to ferry a busload of mostly Dublin residents from place to place. "I thought it would be fun to have it full of 'Paddies' for once." Singer-guitarist Macdara Yeates, 23, a Northside native, and piper Patrick Cummins, 23, who is from the city's posher Southside but is part of the band Skipper's Alley with Yeates, making it all right for him to come along, provided the jigs, songs, banter and the poetry readings.
Book tells how CIA turned 'Doctor Zhivago' into propaganda tool
By Bill Trott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA officials had rave reviews for Boris Pasternak's classic Russian novel "Doctor Zhivago" - not for its literary merit but as a propaganda weapon in the Cold War, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The U.S. intelligence agency saw the book as a challenge to Communism and a way to make Soviet citizens question why their government was suppressing one of their greatest writers, according to newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency's involvement in the book's printing, the Post said. The Soviet government had banned the novel and British intelligence first recognized its propaganda value in 1958, sending the CIA two rolls of film of its pages and suggesting it be spread through the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Naturalist author Peter Matthiessen dies at 86
Globetrotting US naturalist and writer Peter Matthiessen, known for books such as "At Play in the Fields of the Lord," has died at his New York state home, his publisher said Saturday. We are honored to have known him and his beautiful and wild mind," his publisher Riverhead Books said in a statement. Matthiessen, who reportedly had been treated for leukemia in the past year, had been awaiting publication of his final novel, "In Paradise," April 8, Riverhead confirmed. Matthiessen was among the founders of the prestigious literary magazine The Paris Review.
Peter Matthiessen, author-adventurer, co-creator of Paris Review, dies at 86
Naturalist Peter Matthiessen, an award-winning American author who helped create the Paris Review and brought to life tales from the wilderness centered on his excursions to faraway lands, died on Saturday at age 86, his publishing company said. "We are honored to have known him and his beautiful and wild mind." Matthiessen died of leukemia, his son told the New York Times, which said his death occurred at his home in Sagaponack, New York. The environmentalist and chronicler of indigenous peoples was the only author to win the National Book Award in both nonfiction and fiction, taking the prize in the first category with his 1978 "The Snow Leopard," about his travels in Nepal, and in the second with a 2008 collection of stories "Shadow Country." He also won acclaim for a 1965 novel "At Play in the Fields of the Lord" and a 1983 book "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" which delved into a 1975 gun battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists.
'Human skin' book at Harvard found to be bound in sheepskin
By Daniel Lovering CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A 17th century book owned by Harvard Law School, thought to have been bound in human skin because of an inscription that referred to a man "flayed alive," has been shown through scientific testing to have been bound in sheepskin. The binding material of the Spanish law book published in 1605-1606 was determined after an analysis of nine samples of its front and back covers, binding and glue, Karen Beck, a rare books curator at Harvard Law School Library, said on Friday. The Harvard conservation scientist who conducted the testing used a technique for identifying proteins called peptide mass fingerprinting to differentiate the samples from other parchment sources such as cattle, deer, goat and human skin, Beck wrote in a post on the Harvard Law School Library blog. Curators, dermatologists and others had studied the book for years because of a suggestive inscription on its last page that reads: "The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632.
Mandela's former aide to publish memoirs
The long-serving and trusted white personal aide of Nelson Mandela will publish her memoirs in June about how her life was transformed by South Africa's late anti-apartheid icon, Penguin Books announced Thursday. Zelda la Grange, Mandela's private assistant during his 1994-1999 presidency and subsequent retirement, had become a fixture by the Nobel laureate's side. "Good Morning, Mr Mandela," to be published on June 19, is an "extra-ordinary story of how a young woman had her life and everything she once believed in transformed by the greatest man in her time," said Penguin in a statement. Publishing director Helen Conford promised readers the book "will touch your life and make you believe that every one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, has the power to change."
Nelson Mandela's trusted assistant publishes memoir
Nelson Mandela's long-time private assistant, Zelda la Grange, has written a memoir about her life and working for the anti-apartheid hero and former South African president, publisher Viking said on Thursday. It has acquired the North American rights for "Good Morning, Mr. Mandela," which will be published worldwide on June 19. "It's tender, intimate, eye-opening, incredibly moving, and offers a rare portrait of Nelson Mandela and his remarkable life," Viking President Clare Ferraro said in a statement. The life and beliefs of la Grange, a white South African who grew up supporting the segregation rules of the country, were transformed after she started working for Mandela in 1994.
Book Talk: Roddy Doyle on music and language in 'The Guts'
By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Award-winning Irish author Roddy Doyle brings a few of his earliest characters back in his latest book, "The Guts", an achingly funny novel about some of life's more serious issues. Doyle is on his familiar Dublin turf in the book about Jimmy Rabbitte, the former manager of an Irish soul band who appeared in his first book "The Commitments" in 1987. "The Commitments" has also been adapted for the stage and opened in London in October. The former secondary school teacher who won the Booker Prize in 1993 for "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha," spoke to Reuters about writing novels, middle age and returning to old friends.
World Chefs: Say Cheese pop-up plays with notions of English food
By Simon Falush LONDON (Reuters) - Ellen Parr's photographer father Martin is famous for a 1995 book that showed British food for what it was - greasy, heavy, unhealthy and, more often than not, fried. Now, at a pop-up restaurant in a community hall in east London, Ellen Parr and partner Alice Hodge are serving dishes that may resemble the food Parr's father so graphically portrayed in "British Food".
U.S. TV pitchman Trudeau sentenced to 10 years in prison
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau, who was convicted last year of criminal contempt for exaggerating the contents of his weight-loss book in infomercials, was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison. Trudeau, 51, who has been held in federal custody since his conviction in November, will also have five years of supervised release after serving his sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman said. Trudeau was found guilty last November of violating a 2004 federal court settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that barred him from misrepresenting the contents of his books in advertisements. A jury found he violated the agreement while marketing his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You To Know About," in infomercials made in 2006 and 2007 that aired about 32,000 times.
U.S. TV pitchman Trudeau to be sentenced Monday, faces 10 years
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau, who was convicted last year of criminal contempt for exaggerating the contents of his weight-loss books in infomercials, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced by a federal judge on Monday. Trudeau was found guilty last November of violating a 2004 federal court settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that barred him from misrepresenting the contents of his books in advertisements. A jury found Trudeau violated the agreement while marketing his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You To Know About," in infomercials made in 2006 and 2007 that aired about 32,000 times. Trudeau told viewers in the infomercials that the "cure" to obesity was not a diet and did not require exercise, but the book instructed readers to walk an hour each day and to limit intake to 500 calories.
On heels of memoir, Keith Richards to publish children's book
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, famous for surviving years of rock 'n' roll excess, will release a children's picture book with illustrations by his daughter Theodora Richards, his publisher said on Tuesday. The book, "Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar," tells the story of how Richards was first introduced to music by his grandfather and given his first guitar. "'Gus & Me' invites readers to be in the room at the electrifying moment that Keith holds a guitar in his hands for the first time," Megan Tingley, executive vice president and publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, said in a statement. In his memoir, "Life," Richards also recounts the role his grandfather - jazz big band member Theodore Augustus Dupree, who is known as Gus - played in his life.
Fischer to put textbook work on ice while in Fed job
Stanley Fischer wrote the book on macroeconomics. A noted scholar, he co-authored "Macroeconomics," one of the world's leading college economics textbooks. But as he prepares to become vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve - a Senate committee holds a hearing on his nomination on Thursday - he's made a promise that may disappoint anyone who hoped he might be able to pepper the text with insights gleaned at the Fed. The former Bank of Israel governor vowed in January to put his work as an author on ice while in office, making no edits or revisions. Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who co-authored his own popular economics textbook, made a similar pledge in 2009.
Joe McGinniss, author of 'Fatal Vision,' dies at 71
Journalist Joe McGinniss, an author who got up close to his subjects for revealing books such as "The Selling of the President" and "Fatal Vision," died on Monday at age 71, his friend and attorney said. McGinniss died of complications from prostate cancer at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, lawyer Dennis Holahan said in an email. His 1983 book "Fatal Vision" became a classic of the true crime genre and was based on unlimited access he gained to former Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald and his attorneys during MacDonald's 1979 murder trial in the deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
U.S. author George Saunders wins Story Prize for short fiction
(Reuters) - American author George Saunders on Wednesday won the Story Prize for his best-selling short story collection "Tenth of December," which has been lauded for its formal innovation and keen eye to people's darker aspects. Saunders, 55, topped finalists Andrea Barrett's "Archangel" collection and Rebecca Lee's "Bobcat" for the $20,000 prize, the richest among annual literary fiction honors in the United States. Saunders, who lives in New York and teaches creative writing at Syracuse University, was given the award at a ceremony at the New School in New York. "George Saunders offers a vision and version of our world that takes into account the serious menace all around us without denying the absurd pleasures that punctuate life," the judges said in a statement.
Dr. Sherwin Nuland, author of 'How We Die,' dead at 83
(Reuters) - Dr. Sherwin Nuland, the author of the bestseller "How We Die," which talks candidly about how life ends in disease and old age, has died at the age of 83, his daughter said on Tuesday. Nuland died Monday of prostate cancer at his home in Hamden, Connecticut, his daughter Amelia Nuland confirmed by telephone. Nuland was a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, where he had received his medical degree in 1955, according to the university's website. Nuland won the National Book Award for "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter" in 1994.
'Concealed in Death' tops U.S. best-sellers list
NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Concealed in Death," by J.D. Robb shot to the top of the U.S. bestsellers list on Thursday, pushing "Private L.A." into second place. The list is compiled using data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide. Hardcover Fiction Last Week 1. "Concealed in Death" by J.D. Robb (Putnam, $27.95) - 2. "Private L.A." by James Patterson Mark Sullivan (Little, Brown, $28.00) 1 3. "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, $27.95) 3 4. "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown, $30.00) 4 5. ...