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Book News: Disgraced 'New Yorker' Author Talks Plagiarism — For A $20,000 Fee

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

  • Jonah Lehrer, the science writer who resigned from The New Yorker in July after he was caught recycling his own material and fabricating quotes, was paid a $20,000 honorarium by the Knight Foundation to speak about his "mistakes" at a media seminar Tuesday. Lehrer introduced himself as "the author of a book on creativity that contained several fabricated Bob Dylan quotes."

  • Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique turned 50 to great fanfare this month. For The Atlantic, Ashley Fetters lays out some of the biggest criticisms of the feminist classic.

  • In The Daily Beast, Jessica Ferri writes about the "fetishistic" thrill of holding pieces of Sylvia Plath's hair: "Glancing around the room to make sure no one was paying attention I reached into the box and pulled out a long, thick braid, still bound at each side with rubber bands, and held it in my hands."

  • Secret History author Donna Tartt is releasing her first novel in 11 years this fall, according to publisher Little, Brown. Amazon says the new book will be titled The Goldfinch: A Novel and describes it like this: "A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an explosion that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends' apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld."

  • Camilla Long won the "Hatchet Job of the Year" Award on Tuesday, an annual award by The Omnivore magazine given to "the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months." Her cutting review of Rachel Cusk's Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation called the book "a needy, neurotic mandolin solo of reflections on child sacrifice and asides about drains." Washington Post Book critic Ron Charles was a runner-up for the award, and wrote a measured response to the news of his defeat: "[E]verybody knows I deserved to win."

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET:

  • Harry Potter trade paperbacks are getting new covers — check out the first one over at the Monkey See blog.
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