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Book News: Is Amazon Building A CIA Cloud?

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

  • A report in Federal Computer Week, a magazine covering technology within the federal government, cites anonymous sources claiming that the CIA has signed a contract with Amazon worth about $600 million over the next decade to develop cloud computing technology. Neither Amazon nor the CIA would confirm the story. A CIA spokesperson told the magazine, "As a general rule, the CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values, or the scope of work."
  • David Cameron (the obscure American author, not the British Prime Minister) copied and resubmitted an old New Yorker story to a group of literary magazines (including The New Yorker) to see whether it would be accepted without a famous name attached. He reports back: "Dear reader, every single one of these journals rejected my poor New Yorker story with the same boilerplate 'good luck placing your work elsewhere' auto-text that has put the lid on my own sorry submissions. Not a single personal pleasantry." No word on whether the staff at those literary magazines might read The New Yorker and not take kindly to plagiarism.
  • "When Anne Carson was a child, she read Lives of the Saints and adored it so much she tried to eat its pages. The Canadian classicist and poet has never lost this desire to merge with the text; if anything, she's created forms that allow her to eat as many pages as she possibly can." — Parul Sehgal, frequent NPR contributor and an editor at The New York Times Book Review, on the wonders of Anne Carson's Red Doc> for Bookforum.
  • Author Sam Lipsyte, in a (slightly salty) interview with some cats, responds to a question about what animal he most resembles: "I guess I look bearish, but also aardvark-y, porpoiseish, with a hint of the major ruminants, and the anxious darting expressions of a squirrel. Not to pander, but I think I may have the personality of a cat."
  • A study out Wednesday in the scientific journal PLoS ONE analyzes the frequency of "mood" words (words relating to emotions like "Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy, Sadness, and Surprise") in British and American literature — and came away with a surprising conclusion. Using data from 1900 onward, researchers found that British literature has become less emotional in the past few decades, while American literature has become much more emotional.
  • American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis announced the plot of his next book on Twitter early Thursday: "New novel: Robert Mallory is a high school student and serial killer in 1981 Los Angeles." You know, in case you thought he might be branching out.
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