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Book News: Author And Wife Of Amazon CEO Defends Online Retailer

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

  • Mackenzie Bezos, the author of the novel Traps and the wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, defended the company publicly for the first time to The Times [paywall protected], calling it "great for authors and books." She herself is not published by Amazon.
  • Iain Banks, the popular Scottish author, announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that he has late stage gall bladder cancer, and that "it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year." Banks is known for being a prolific author of science fiction novels. The Telegraph wrote of him in 2012, "No other writer likes explosions quite as much as Iain Banks does. His science-fiction novels rock with them, and one of the most celebrated opening sentences in modern literature is (from his 1992 novel The Crow Road): 'It was the day my grandmother exploded.'"
  • In the LA Review of Books, Alexandra Socarides explicates the "formally stunning, politically subversive, yet oddly forgettable poem" at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
  • A real estate blog calculates the value of Hogwarts Castle and comes up with $204.1 million.
  • "Mary Gaitskill's great-great-grandfather invented the beer helmet." and other literary rumors from Vice magazine.
  • The New York Review of Books highlights W.H. Auden's submissions to the literary magazine in honor of National Poetry Month, including his poem "Filler" : "The Marquis de Sade and Genet / Are most highly thought of to-day; / But torture and treachery / Are not my sort of lechery, / So I've given my copies away."
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NPR

Shante, He Stays: RuPaul Reflects On Decades Of Drag — And 2 Emmy Nominations

RuPaul is the most recognizable drag queen in America. His hit show, RuPaul's Drag Race is up for two Emmy Awards as it begins filming its ninth season. But drag, he says, will never be mainstream.
NPR

Food World Rallies For Quake-Hit Amatrice, Home Of Famous Pasta Dish

In Italy and the U.S., restaurants are pledging to use sales of Amatrice's signature dish, spaghetti all' amatriciana, to raise funds for the Italian town devastated by Wednesday's earthquake.
NPR

Former White House Doctor Outlines Gray Areas In Candidates' Health

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Rob Darling, a former White House physician, about how much voters have a right to know about the medical histories of presidential candidates.
NPR

WhatsApp Will Start Sharing Data, Including Phone Numbers, With Facebook

It will also test new ways for businesses to communicate with users on the app. The privacy policy changes mark the long-expected move by Facebook to begin making money from the free app.

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