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Book News: Amazon Fires German Security Firm After Claims Of Intimidation

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

  • Amazon announced Monday that it has fired a German security company amid accusations that seasonal warehouse workers had been intimidated and harassed. In a documentary aired last week by a German TV station, foreign temporary workers claimed that guards from Hensel European Security Services (HESS) would frisk them and search their rooms. Footage also showed some guards wearing clothing made by Thor Steinar, a brand strongly associated with the neo-Nazi movement in Germany.
  • Haruki Murakami's Japanese publisher says the author of Kafka on the Shore and longtime front-runner for the Nobel Prize in Literature will publish a new novel in April. (In Japanese, that is — the rest of us will have to wait for a translation.)
  • Today in literary infographics: Young Adult heroines are mostly shy, plucky virgins with poor self-esteem and brown hair.
  • Atonement author Ian McEwan on fiction: "Like a late victorian clergyman sweating in the dark over his Doubts, I have moments when my faith in fiction falters and then comes to the edge of collapse."
  • The New York Times reports that short stories are on the rise and are a "Good Fit for Today's Little Screens." Although the Times' story isn't on par with the 2008 classic, "It's No Boo-Boo: Bandages As Fashion Accessories," it has all the makings of an egregious trend piece. Can we get some data, please?

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • In the memoir After Visiting Friends, author Michael Hainey searches for the truth about his father's death.
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash is a collections of short stories set in Appalachia, NPR's Scott Simon calls it "pointed, fierce, funny and tightly packed."
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NPR

In 'Porcelain,' Moby Searches For Validation And Finds Unlikely Success

The electronic musician's new memoir traces his journey from Connecticut suburbs to New York City raves. It's a tale of dance clubs, DJs and Manhattan in the 1990s full of self-deprecating humor.
NPR

To Survive The Bust Cycle, Farmers Go Back To Business-School Basics

Farming is entering its third year on the bust side of the cycle. Major crop prices are low while expenses like seed, fertilizer and land remain high. That means getting creative to succeed.
WAMU 88.5

Power Plant Fight In Prince George's County

A predominantly African American community in rural Prince George's County recently filed a federal civil rights complaint in response to plans to build a third power plant in one town, and fifth in the region.

NPR

Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

The New York Times says entrepreneur Peter Thiel confirms he has been bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury award to Hogan of $140 million over publication of a sex tape.

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