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Book News: Michael Vick Cancels Book Tour Because Of Threats

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

  • Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has cancelled the book tour for his autobiography, Finally Free, after "protests escalated into threats of violence," his publisher told CNN. Vick's past connections to an interstate dogfighting ring — he was convicted in 2007 and spent a year and a half in federal prison — didn't win him many friends.
  • The New Yorker's Avi Steinberg writes about Maurice Sendak's use of watercolors in My Brother's Book: "The effect is of looking deep into a microscope and entering the dramas of an animal cell, the pulsing textures and musical logic, the way each tiny organelle busily plays its part in sustaining the general tremble of the thing."
  • The longlist for the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) was announced Wednesday, and includes Hilary Mantel, Zadie Smith, Maria Semple and Barbara Kingsolver.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood actress, subpar rapper and host of a lifestyle website called GOOP, where you can buy an "extra large nest bowl in wasabi" for $444, has become the target of ridicule because of her new cookbook. It's All Good (which could be more accurately titled, It's All Good (Except For Gluten, Eggs, Dairy, Shellfish, Sugar, Coffee, Alcohol and Meat) was dinged by the The New York Post as "a recipe for ridicule", and The Atlantic Wire called it the "Bible of Laughable Hollywood Neuroticism."
  • For Slate, Tanner Colby re-interviews the sources for Bob Woodward's Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, and finds Woodward's portrayal wanting: "There's never a smoking gun like an outright falsehood or a brazen ethical breach. ... But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It's here that Woodward fails."
  • After the annual VIDA Women in Literary Arts survey came up with dismal numbers on gender equality in literary publications in 2012, Flavorwire asked the two publications that actually did well in the measure — Granta and Tin House — how they did it. Best answer goes to Granta's John Freeman: "Granta has no secret for how we maintain these percentages. I don't force myself to think of Louise Erdrich, or Karen Russell. Or some of the writers who are on our upcoming Best of Young British Novelists issue. In fact, it is hard for me not to; to me, they are simply the best out there."
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NPR

After Sketchy Science, Shark Week Promises To Turn Over A New Fin

Shark Week is here, and scientists are afraid. Not of the toothy swimmers — but of inaccuracies, bad science and the demonization of animals that aren't as ferocious as Discovery Channel has made out.
NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

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