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Book News: 'Life Of Pi' Author Strips Down For Charity

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

  • A group of prominent Canadian authors are stripping down for a (mostly) nude calendar. Proceeds from the Bare It For Books project will go to PEN Canada, an organization that promotes freedom of expression. The (actually kind of hunky) Life of Pi author Yann Martel will be Mr. December.
  • Toni Morrison will use Google Hangouts to hold a "digital book signing" on Wednesday to talk about her novel Home. Minus the book signing part, presumably.
  • Renowned English poet Simon Armitage plans to walk 260 miles along the coast of England, trading poetry recitals for food and shelter. Let's hope he has a backup plan.
  • The legendary Beat novelist William S. Burroughs once appeared in a Nike commercial. Who knew? It's almost as weird as that time Jack Kerouac was featured in a GAP ad (also not a joke).
  • Sam Sacks, in The New Yorker, on why we should bring back illustrated literary fiction: "[T]he interplay between art and text is rich with possibilities that few fiction writers have even begun to explore. Illustrations are fun. Giving up on them sacrifices real pleasures for a needlessly narrow conception of literary purity."

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • Gerbrand Bakker's Ten White Geese, the story of a woman who takes refuge on an isolated farm in Wales, is already an international bestseller. NPR's Jacki Lyden calls it "beautiful" and "mysterious and often menacing."
  • Ned Beauman's deeply weird novel The Teleportation Accident, about the misadventures of Weimar Republic-era stage designer Egon Loeser, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
  • NPR's Rachel Martin calls With or Without You, Domenica Ruta's new memoir about growing up with her wildly troubled mother, "beautifully written [and] harrowing."
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