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Book News: 'New Yorker' Plagiarist's Book Pulled From Shelves

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

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided that disgraced journalist and author Jonah Lehrer's second book, How We Decide, will be taken off shelves at bookstores after the publisher's internal investigation uncovered "significant problems," The Daily Beast reports. Lehrer, who publicly apologized (in exchange for a substantial fee) last month for fabricating Bob Dylan quotes in his third book Imagine, resigned from The New Yorker in July. Imagine was pulled from shelves last year. The publisher didn't go into specifics about the problems with How We Decide, but Daily Beast's Michael Moynihan had previously flagged some "problematic passages."
  • "Kerouac was susceptible to film — a sucker for its promise of riches as well as its flickering poetry — and he imagined an iconic adaptation of On the Road." Writer Andrew O'Hagan on why Jack Kerouac (unlike Virginia Woolf or J.D. Salinger) wanted his novels to be made into movies.
  • Meanwhile, the (actually kind of awesome) Jane Austen / zombie mashup novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will soon be a movie, joining Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead in the ranks of weird literary undead films.
  • How sweet: Cakes that look like classic works of literature.

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a novel masquerading as a self-help book, and possibly the only book in the world to make second-person narration charming. NPR contributor Alan Cheuse compares it to The Great Gatsby.
  • Anne Carson's Red Doc> is the follow up to her 1998 verse novel Autobiography of Red, which was inspired by the myth of Geryon and Hercules. Though Red Doc> is very different from its predecessor, it is a beautiful and weird and cryptic book in its own right.
  • James Longenbach's The Virtues of Poetry looks at poetry from Shakespeare to modern writer John Ashbery in an elegant series of essays.
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