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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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Opulent And Apolitical: The Art Of The Met's Islamic Galleries

Navina Haidar, an Islamic art curator at the Met, says she isn't interested in ideology: "The only place where we allow ourselves any passion is in the artistic joy ... of something that's beautiful."
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Tired Of The Seoul-Sucking Rat Race, Koreans Flock To Farming

More than 80 percent of people in South Korea live in cities. But in the past few years, there has been a shift. Tens of thousands of South Koreans are relocating to the countryside each year.
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Fannie Lou Hamer and the Fight for Voting Rights

Kojo explores the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper who became an outspoken voice in the civil rights movement and the fight for voting rights.

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Chrysler recalls cars to boost their cybersecurity. Microsoft debuts its new Windows 10 operating system. And navigation tech could bring us robotic lawn mowers. The Computer Guys and Gal explain.

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